Well-bred colt Headwater stamped himself as the new 2015 Golden Slipper favourite with an outstanding performance in the 2015 Silver Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
There was a great deal of support for Headwater in Silver Slipper Stakes betting markets ahead of the Group 2 event and the punters who backed the Exceed And Excel were counting their winnings a long way from home.
Headwater jumped straight to the front of the Silver Slipper Stakes and he responded well when he was asked for an extra effort by jockey Blake Shinn to run away from his rivals to score a most impressive three and a half lengths lead.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes admitted that he was slightly worried heading into the Silver Slipper Stakes and he was thrilled that the two-year-old was able to justify the hype and maintain his unbeaten record.
“He really put paid to them,” Hawkes said.
“He flew the machines which was great, leading was probably the last option, but once he jumped so well Blake just rated him.
“He was really untouched in the end and full credit to the horse and everybody that is involved.
“We were always worried about today.”
While bookmakers were quick to put Headwater to the top of 2015 Golden Slipper Stakes betting markets, Hawkes said that the stable are not getting ahead of themselves and he believes that the two-year-old still has plenty of work to do to get to the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 21.
Hawkes did not confirm whether Headwater will contest the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 and he said that he will wait and see how the juvenile pulls up before deciding on his plans heading into the Golden Slipper.
“We are still four weeks away and he has a long way to go,” Hawkes said.
“He only beat what he had to today and we are just taking it one step at a time.
“It is a 50/50 call and he could end up here in two weeks or he could just have a trial ahead of the Slipper.
“We will just take it one step at a time with him and there is no rush.
“We know what we have and so does everybody else now.”
Team Snowden-trained Paceman was also well-backed in the lead-up to the Silver Slipper Stakes and he tired quickly after taking on Headwater in the early stages of the race, while previous Golden Slipper favourite Ottoman was never able to get into the race and was fairly disappointing.