Speed-on-speed attracts breeders and buyers in the modern-day market and Vinery Stud newcomer Headwater has both in spades.
Powerful and precocious, Headwater is by pre-eminent speed sire Exceed And Excel from River Dove who won Caulfield’s ultimate speed test in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate.
They don’t breed them any faster and Vinery general manager Peter Orton was quick to point out Headwater lived right up to his pedigree. “He’s a really exciting prospect given the speed in his pedigree and the speed he showed at an early age. A horse of immense quality, he is sure to be popular being a son of a proven juvenile sire with brilliant racetrack performances of his own.”
Team Hawkes bought Headwater for $500,000 at the 2014 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and he hit the ground running to dispatch some smart juveniles on debut at Moonee Valley. “He was never out of second gear,” Wayne Hawkes beamed. “This horse is a real professional and has shown us plenty of talent right from the start.”
Resuming after a summer break, Headwater turned the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) into a procession at Rosehill. In a race that contained five unbeaten juveniles, he led and then sprinted clear before being eased down to score by more than two lengths.
“That was a great performance,” jockey Blake Shinn said. “He jumped, travelled and accelerated. He’s the complete package.”
Promoted to favouritism for the G1 Golden Slipper, Headwater got to the front in the straight – just like Excel And Excel in 2003 – before going down a length and change.
Vinery brought Headwater back for his final campaign as an autumn three year-old and the colt responded with a brilliant victory against older sprinters in the LR Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington. He clocked a slick 56.90s down the straight to defeat G1 Newmarket Hcp winner The Quarterback.
“I told the owners he had to run big and that’s exactly what he did,” Hawkes declared. “He stumbled at the start but pinned his ears back and stepped up when it counted.
“He’s got a berth at Vinery next to All Too Hard who we also trained. There would be very few horses anywhere in the country with a fatter pedigree.”
Headwater will stand at an introductory $16,500 (inc gst) service fee.