A small field of two year olds will contest the Group 2 $300,000 UNSW Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday after only five colts and geldings accepted for the important Golden Slipper lead up race.
The Team Hawkes trained Headwater gets his chance to cement his spot at the top of the market order for the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 21.
Headwater, with Blake Shinn to ride again, will jump from the outside of the five horse field and another win would see the Exceed And Excel colt remain the favourite for the Golden Slipper.
Ladbrokes.com.au have Headwater as the $4.80 favourite ahead of last Saturday’s Skyline Stakes winner Exosphere at $5 and Todman Stakes rival Vancouver at $6.
Headwater is the winner of his only two race starts including an impressive all the way win in the Group 2 $250,000 Blackwoods Uvex Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on February 21.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Vancouver is also undefeated from two starts and resumed from a spell to win the Group 3 $150,000 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on January 31 with Tommy Berry on board.
Berry is on top again and the Medaglia D’Oro colt will jump from the middle of the field at barrier three.
Furnaces from the powerful John O’Shea stable is looking to redeem himself after being beaten as the odds on favourite when second to stablemate Haptic in the Listed $125,000 DX Solutions Lonhro Plate (1100m) at Randwick on February 14.
James McDonald has stuck with the Exceed And Excel colt who will come out of gate two.
Voilier ran a promising race when second to Headwater in the Skyline Stakes and with the blinkers on for the first time in the Todman Stakes trainer Gary Nickson is looking forward to another bold showing.
Tye Angland will ride Voilier and the Beneteau gelding will jump from barrier four.
Queensland trained youngster Mishani Honcho has drawn the inside gate and will have to win the Todman Stakes for connections to pay the late entry fee of $150,000 to secure a start in the Golden Slipper.
Mishani Honcho made up ground late when third to Headwater in the Skyline and trainer Les Ross thinks the step up to 1200m on Saturday will be in the Jet Spur gelding’s favour.
“He’ll be a lot better over 1200 metres,” Ross said.
“He’ll need to win the Todman to warrant running in the Golden Slipper, otherwise he’ll go for the Sires Produce.”
Jockey Chris Whiteley will ride Mishani Honcho again.