Singapore trainer Michael Clements had been blown away trying to buy a first-crop Headwater yearling in 2019 but he had better luck at the Inglis Ready 2 Race Sale later that year in Sydney.
Clements finally got his Headwater for $210,000 from Prima Park at Riverside Stables and that persistence has paid off with the very promising son of Zalila (Zabeel) who was bought on behalf of PSM Racing Stable.
Named Starlight, he thrashed a field of maidens on debut at Kranji on December 27 despite being heavily bumped on jumping. He was even more impressive second-up over 1200m on Saturday albeit by a much smaller margin.
Given front-running duties once again by Louis-Philippe Beuzelin, he was under siege in the straight but fought back gamely to score by a half-length from Be You (Showcasing).
“I had been keen on the Headwaters from the start and missed quite a few,” Clements recalled. “And this was the last one available towards the end of the Ready 2 Race Sale. I was happy and relieved but also a bit on edge after busting my budget.
“I normally wouldn’t spend more than $150,000 but I liked this one so much I pushed up a bit further. He was physically impressive, the way he moved in the breeze-ups was powerful and his action in the parade was also very good.”
Assistant-trainer Michael White, who hails from Perth, rates Starlight the best horse he’s had anything to do with in Singapore. “He’s nowhere near the finished article and still doesn’t know what he’s doing,” White said. “With time, he will get longer and I believe he doesn’t have to lead but we took advantage of the good gate to let him dictate today.”
Headwater stands at Vinery and he sired Starlight from a sister to Legible (Sandown Classic Gr.2). Normally, he would be targeting the Singapore 3YO Challenge which reaches a Group 1 grand-final in the Singapore Guineas (1600m) in May.
This year’s series has been postponed by the Singapore Turf Club who have advised owners and trainers it will be resolved “in due course”.
Earlier on Saturday, Headwater sired another new maiden winner when Head On Up was successful at Kembla Grange. In a performance that would be reprised by Starlight, she climbed off the canvas after being clearly headed by Surplus Value (Capitalist) in the straight.
Head On Up was racing first-up since being placed twice in her initial campaign earlier this season. She was bred by Vinery partner Steve McCann and was a $105,000 buy from Vinery (as agent) at the 2019 Inglis Classic Sale for clients of Richard & Michael Freedman.
Her dam Fill Me Up (Zizou) had a More Than Ready filly sell for $200,000 to Clarke Bloodstock at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale on Wednesday. The mare foaled a Headwater colt in September and McCann bred her back to Vinery’s first-season sire Exceedance.