Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes believes that Headwater is a stronger horse heading into the 2015 San Domenico Stakes, but he admits that he would not be disappointed if the talented colt runs second to Vancouver in the Group 3 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Headwater made his racing debut with a strong win in the Cactus Imaging Plate (1000m) at Moonee Valley on December 27 and he stamped himself as Golden Slipper favourite when he recorded an impressive victory in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 21.
The hype surrounding Headwater came crashing back to earth when he finished five lengths behind Vancouver in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 before he finished a credible fifth behind the same horse in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
Hawkes told RSN that he is not giving up on the chance that Headwater could turn-the-tables on Vancouver, but he admits that the Exceed And Excel colt would need to improve significantly to beat the Golden Slipper winner.
“You would like to think so,” Hawkes said when asked if Headwater can win the San Domenico Stakes.
“Some won’t improve and some will improve, so by him being bigger and stronger that suggests that he has improved.
“He needs to, he has run placings to Vancouver and he is thereabouts, but obviously Vancouver is the benchmark.
“I wouldn’t be upset if we ran a strong second to Vancouver.”
While Hawkes is unsure whether Headwater can win the 2015 San Domenico Stakes this weekend, he is delighted with the physical condition of the three-year-old and he believes that the colt has taken plenty of benefit out of his stint in the spelling paddock following his Golden Slipper defeat.
“He is really good,” Hawkes said.
“He has strengthened up a lot and he has just done so well.
“I hadn’t seen him until last Saturday morning and I was pretty happy with how he looked.”
Headwater is currently available at 2015 San Domenico Stakes odds of $9 and he is on the sixth line of betting behind Vancouver ($2.35), Team Snowden-trained Redzel ($4.80), last start winner Japonisme ($5.50) and Gerald Ryan-trained King’s Troop.
Team Hawkes are chasing their second straight win in the San Domenico Stakes after taking out the 2014 edition of the race with Nostradamus.