Brisbane horseman Liam Birchley is considering a trip down to Sydney or Melbourne this Spring Racing Carnival season following a winning Doomben trial from his progressive two-year-old Headwater Country.
The son of Snitzel stepped out in their first public appearance since March and made a good impression ahead of their three-year-old debut in an 850m handicap hit-out.
Ridden by Larry Cassidy they didn’t defeat a field of duds either as Peter Moody’s Golden Slipper third placegetter Bring Me The Maid, who was offered at great odds through Ladbrokes.com.au for the world’s richest juveniles’ race in the autumn, ran second.
A length and a quarter separated Headwater Country and the Group 2 winning Sebring filly who was last seen crossing just under two lengths off the Team Hawkes-trained Mossfun in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in April.
As for Brichley’s trial winner, the fastest of the morning over the distance running 50.78 seconds, Headwater Country’s effort was an improved one on their earlier form with the addition of blinkers boosting their performance.
“I don’t know what you make of Bring Me The Maid as she was slow to go and then wasn’t knocked around,” Birchely said, not getting too carried away just yet.
“But we might have found the key to Headwater Country by putting blinkers on him.
“When he came back into work he was a bit doughy and I thought what is going on here.”
The horse’s last start was a well beaten fourth behind I Am Snippety at Wellington in the Boot Handicap (1100m) back on March 23.
Before that they were also well beaten when 10th to Lucky Raquie in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra.
Birchley is willing to forgive and forget those runs however, with the Black Opal a particularly luckless run as they struck interference near the 600m and were also checked over the final 200m.
“He was never on the track in Opal and then had no luck when fourth in the Boot despite the winner bolting in,” Birchley told AAP this week.
Their trial win was their first time past the post in either a jumpout or official start since their big win on debut last October when putting seven lengths on Lovelife in a 900m race at the Gold Coast.
This spring Birchley is hoping they can go all the way to the interstate spring features.
Firstly though they’ll go through the ranks at home with a three-year-old race in Brisbane scheduled for their first-up run where the youngster will get the chance to atone for missing the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.
How they go there and how they progress over the next couple of months will then determine whether their Eagle Farm-based trainer rolls the dice with another trip south.
“After the luck we had with him last time we went south I am in no hurry to get him back there,” Birchley said.
“But if he races OK up here we might have to reconsider and take him south for some of the spring races.”
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