Studmasters across the country are predicting a positive reaction from buyers when the first Headwater yearlings appear at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale starting on January 9.
Headwater was bred to go fast and go early being a precocious son of champion sire Exceed And Excel from Oakleigh Plate Gr.1 winner River Dove. He duly responded at two in the Silver Slipper Stakes Gr.2 before returning at three to defeat older horses in the Kensington Stakes LR down the straight at Flemington.
That potent combination is all too evident among his first-crop of 13 yearlings in Book 1 at the Magic Millions. The majority are from his home-base at Vinery and other leading nurseries in NSW.
Headwater has an outstanding half-brother to Sydney filly Meryl on account of Riversdale Pastoral catalogued as Lot 318. “He’s a nice walker with plenty of girth and length,” manager Nick Hodges said. “He’s not dissimilar to Meryl, either.
“Meryl is a lovely filly and is going from strength-to-strength this season. She won the (G3) Champagne Stakes at Moonee Valley and ran (G3) placings at Caulfield and Flemington.”
The value of her younger half-brother is on an upward curve, too and trainer Lee Curtis reckons there’s a home-town feature looming at the autumn carnival.
Meryl is owned by a ladies syndicate managed by Christine Cook. “It’s an exciting time for the ladies…she was racing for $2 million in the Magic Millions Classic last year,” Curtis explained. “Travelling isn’t a problem and her last run was super in the Red Roses at Flemington.”
Their dam Academy Idol (Made Of Gold) is a winning half-sister to Cosmic Strike (VRC Gilgai Stakes Gr.3) and, apart from Meryl, she’s also foaled stakes-level sprinters by Choisir and Exceed And Excel.
Lime Country Thoroughbreds has two by Headwater travelling up to the Gold Coast – his first-session colt, like all the Headwaters on the farm at Moss Vale – has impressed studmaster Greg Griffin.
The colt from The Carnival (Lot 216) is the second foal of an unraced half-sister to Flemington Group 3 winner Elusive Touch. “He’s a machine!” Griffin declared. “A beautiful animal. Strong, correct with a good temperament.
“The Headwaters are all lovely, loose walkers. And both our Magic Millions colts have strong, masculine heads.”
Lime Country is located in the Southern Highlands and it nurtured numerous champions in a previous life as Think Big Stud. Greg and his wife Jo began the next phase last year when their yearlings sold up to $660,000.
Lime Country’s other Headwater (Lot 777) will parade towards the end of the third session on Friday, January 11. He’s closely related to More Than Ready’s Champion South African Filly Entisaar.
Hoofnote: The Headwater colt from The Carnival has been something special from the day he was born at Nick Nolan’s Noralla Stud. “I’ve always been keen on Headwater…he was a top-class sprinter with a brilliant pedigree,” Nolan said. “That colt was precocious, alright. He was up and suckling within 20 minutes of being foaled and didn’t stop progressing.”