Headwater’s strike-rate in Hong Kong has moved up a couple of notches with winners at Happy Valley (United Endeavors) and Sha Tin (James Tak) in the last week.

United Endeavors stormed home from near last to land the first-leg for trainer Chris So on Wednesday.  He prepares the gelding for the Happy Plus Syndicate and they have banked the equivalent of AUD$502,000.

Keith (Yeung) did a really good job,” So said following the narrow victory over Gallant Crown (Hallowed Crown) in the To Kwa Wan Hcp (1650m).  “He chose to come back to the three-wide line with cover with the slow pace and really hit the line.  That was the key.”

United Endeavors was bred by Pat Arcella and carries the same Headwater – Zabeel cross as Singapore 3yo Classic (LR, 1400m) winner Starlight.  He was exported after finishing second to Kallos (Medaglia d’Oro) in a Hawkesbury trial and the winner progressed to a Group 2 victory in the 2021 VRC Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.

He’s the final foal of Illinois Magic and Arcella kept a link with the family through his older half-sister Messina Magic (Testa Rossa).  She went to stud last season and the Aquis Farm freshman Stronger (Not A Single Doubt) who won the 2019 Ken Russell Memorial Classic (Gr.3, 1200m) on the Gold Coast was chosen for her.

Headwater’s emerging sprinter James Tak nailed his third Sha Tin win in six starts for trainer Benno Yung in the Morningside Alumni Hcp (1200m) on Sunday.

He was a $75,000 buy for Solari Bloodstock at the 2022 Inglis Ready2Race Sale for a partnership comprising Tsang Hon Wah, Dr Ronald Cheung and Jacky Tsang.  “His Hong Kong brand is 007 and the owners wanted to name him James Bond but the Jockey Club vetoed that idea,” Yung said.

James Tak is the final foal of Oakdale Park mare Patois (Street Cry) and hails from the ‘Karioi’ family nurtured by Vic Hayes going back to the 1970s.  “He’s a very nice horse and is easy to work with of the mornings,” jockey Jerry Chau explained.  “He settles in at trackwork and shows his talent in races and will keep improving.”

Back home, Headwater’s Group 1 galloper Strait Acer looked a good thing when second in a Provincial Championships Heat (1350m) at Wyong on Saturday.  He was never on the track and flew home from last to be beaten a length and a half by Ausbred Flirt (Maurice).

The first two home qualified for the $1 million Provincial Championships Final (1200m) at Randwick on April 13.  Strait Acer was bred by Vinery Stud’s assistant stud manager Kate Curran and he has a class edge on the other Finalists with a Group 1 placing in the Sir Rupert Steele Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in November.

Before travelling south for trainer Edward Cummings, Strait Acer won the Shoot Out Mile (1600m) at Randwick and earned a combined $690,000 when second in the Silver Eagle (1300m) and fourth in the Golden Eagle (1500m).