Headwater sprinter dominates Durbridge Stakes

Aitch Two Oh erased any memories of missing last year’s SAJC Durbridge Stakes (LR, 1100m) when she took centre stage to win this year’s edition at Morphettville on Saturday.

The Headwater mare started a $4 favourite and disputed the lead with $101 longshot Mouse Almighty (Star Witness) who eventually caved in to finish a long last.  “She’s back with a bang!” co-trainer Richard Jolly declared.  “I was a bit worried when the roughie took her on but they weren’t going a breakneck speed and she won comfortably.

“We were quietly confident after she won a Murray Bridge trial earlier this month and her gallop on Tuesday morning was as good as I’ve seen her work.  It’s good to have her back to her best and hopefully we can go forward and run her in some nice races over our carnival.”

Aitch Two Oh has earned over $465,000 and Jolly mentioned the SAJC Manihi Classic (LR, 1100m) at Morphettville on March 11 as a possible goal on Adelaide Cup Day.  Headwater has won two of the last three renewals of the Manihi Classic with Little Miss Kubi (2023) and Mileva (2021).

She was racing first-up on the weekend following an unplaced Melbourne spring campaign in the Alinghi Stakes (LR, 1100m) at Caulfield and Begonia Belle Stakes (Gr.3, 1100m) at Flemington.

This time last year, Aitch Two Oh was coming off a career-high victory in the Red Roses Stakes (Gr.3, 1100m) at Flemington.  “We were ecstatic after the Red Roses,” Jolly recalled.  “We were going to give her a fresh run at home to kick-off last year’s autumn prep but the Durbridge Stakes came up too early!  She’s a quality mare and it’s hard to place her over here.”

Baramul Stud owner Gerry Harvey bred and sold her for $65,000 at the 2021 Adelaide Magic Millions.  He used Vinery Stud sire Headwater over Very Dogmatic (Swiss Ace) who is a sister to BRC Vo Rogue Plate (Gr.3, 1350m) winner Mywayorthehighway.

Winning jockey Jake Toeroek believes Aitch Two Oh is in for a good prep.  “We wanted to be aggressive early because she’s a speed horse and that’s her pet distance.  To run those sectionals the whole race and still win like that showed her class.

“She was entitled to knock up after being attacked but she toughed it out and there’s a lot of improvement to come.”

Headwater has 7 yearlings entered for the Inglis Classic Sale and rounding out his draft are a chestnut colt (Lot 524) and filly (Lot 624) consigned (as agent) by Vinery.  The colt is out of Open All Hours (Wanted) who is a half-sister to the dam of Vinery-conceived 2016-17 Champion Australian Stayer Jameka (Myboycharlie).

The filly is from Ready To Order (Perfectly Ready) and she is a half-sister to the dam of NZ black-type winner Miss Seton Sands (Gonski).  The Vinery draft will be stabled in Barn I at Riverside Stables.