Vinery Stud colt Headwater is destined for a decorated career on the bare evidence of a brilliant debut at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Bookmakers promoted Headwater to favouritism for the G1 Blue Diamond and G1 Golden Slipper after watching him dispatch some smart juveniles with an on-pace victory in the Cactus Imaging Plate (1000m).
“He was never out of second gear,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes beamed. “He will go for a break now in readiness for the autumn.”
Headwater has entered pre-post markets as a $4.40 equal-favourite with Darley filly Ottoman for the Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield on February 28. The Exceed And Excel pair are also $9 joint-favourites for the $3.50 million Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill on March 21.
Team Hawkes won the 2014 Golden Slipper with Mossfun who is a daughter of Vinery stallion Mossman. “He’s got more ability than her at the same stage,” Wayne Hawkes said. “But she did go ahead in leaps and bounds.
“This horse is a real professional and did everything right today. He’s got a beautiful pedigree and has shown plenty of talent right from the start.”
Headwater (2c Exceed and Excel – River Dove by Hurricane Sky) is by the same sire as 2013 Golden Slipper winner Overreach and his dam was a Group 1 winner of an Oakleigh Plate.
He cost $500,000 at the 2014 Inglis Easter yearling sale and is raced by a syndicate that includes Vinery Stud partners Gerry Harvey, Alan Green, Neil Werrett, Tom Simon, Steve McCann and Greg Perry.
Winning jockey James Winks is convinced there’s huge improvement to come from Headwater. “He’s still a big kid and I just held him together. That win was a little bit frightening compared to what could be ahead after a spell.”