FORMER Scone trainer Toby Edmonds has always had a nagging doubt that he has not seen the best of Houtzen, and believes it is set to come in The Everest at Randwick on Saturday.
She might already be a millionaire, but she has done it without being able to breathe at the end of her races.
Houtzen won a Magic Millions and started Golden Slipper favourite, when a game fifth to She Will Reign, but she never pulled up well.
Edmonds knows why now after employing a tongue tie for this preparation.
"Even though she was winning as a two-year-old she would pull up distressed all the time," he said.
"Even after her Magic Millions and in particular after the Golden Slipper she was coughing.
"You don't want to change too much with a young horse, so we worked with her. But we think she was getting her tongue back and blocking the airway.
"Looking back, it's not what you really want.
"She got away with it against those young horses, because she was so good, so fast.
"It's not something she was going to get away with as she stepped up against these top sprinters, you need to be able to breathe.
"We put a tongue tie on from the start of this preparation and she has never pulled up better.
"She is like a different horse after her races.
"We have had The Everest there as our target and for the first time we have really screwed her down and she is humming."
Questions were asked after Houtzen was beaten as favourite by Russian Revolution on her return as a three-year-old.
Was she just a speedy two-year-old that had not trained one?
She came out and won the Scarborough Stakes a couple of weeks ago to secure her place in The Everest, which had been locked in for a couple of months when slot-holder Aquis purchased a share in her.
A couple of slashing pieces of work have Edmonds' confidence up and having Jeff Lloyd to partner her will help.
He is not giving away anything about tactics, but she doesn't necessarily have to lead.
"It is different now with her because she is a little older. It is one of those races where you don't want to give too much away to anybody, so we will talk tactics with Jeff and not in public," Edmonds said.
"I think it is a big advantage having Jeff ride her because he knows her so well, and so is barrier one."
Lloyd has got down to ride the 51kg on the three-year-old filly and he was also leaving his options open after the barrier draw.
"If I had drawn barrier 10 or 11 there would have been only one choice – to lead – but from barrier one there are more options," he said.
"Should they want to go mad early I would be happy to take a sit behind them.
"Barrier one is a big advantage in a race like this.
"I want to see how the track is playing and how the speed in other races is working out before I get too carried away."