Headwater to Miss 2015 McEwen Stakes

Hawkes Racing have made the call to scratch young colt Headwater from Saturday’s 2015 McEwen Stakes field in Melbourne after drawing a wide gate for the Group 2 winner in the weight-for-age sprint.


Headwater will bypass the McEwen Stakes this weekend in favour of a 2015 Danehill Stakes run at Flemington Saturday week. Photo: Steve Hart.

Running as Moonee Valley Race 8 at 4:45pm (AEST) on Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day, this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) originally drew 15 final acceptors.

Headwater, who was drawn in barrier 13 of 15, though has now officially been removed from the line-up with co-trainer Wayne Hawkes saying there was ‘no point’ running him from the horror gate.

“He’s drawn terribly, so there’s no point running him, especially against Chautauqua,” Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his brother Michael and Hall of Fame father John, told Racing Victoria.

“He’d need to have the perfect run in transit to be some hope of beating Chautauqua and some of the others, but he’s drawn terribly.

“So we’ll scratch [him].”

The McEwen Stakes would have been the Exceed And Excel three-year-old’s second run this time in following a disappointing seventh of eight runners to the Chris Waller-trained Japonisme in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on August 15.

A winner of two of his five starts to date, Headwater’s most notable victory was the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) back in February before he was twice beaten by Gai Waterhouse’s now 2015 Golden Rose-bound colt Vancouver.

Headwater ran third in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) and then fifth when beaten under two lengths in the $3 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) in April.

While he won’t run in the McEwen Stakes this weekend, the betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for the race are dominated by his stablemate Chautauqua.

Also drawn wide in barrier 12, Dwayne Dunn’s mount returns to racing with the $2.39 million earning Encosta De Lago five-year-old last seen running third in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

Before that he won the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m), also in Sydney, and races in Melbourne on Saturday for the first time since his second behind the since retired Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in mid-March.

Headwater was paying around $21 in the McEwen Stakes odds before his scratching and will be saved for a run at Flemington Racecourse Saturday week, September 12, in the $200,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) on Makybe Diva Stakes Day.

“We’ll run in the Danehill next Saturday,” Hawkes confirmed.

Also 2015 Danehill Stakes bound this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is the Mick Price-trained Ready For Victory who ran second in last weekend’s Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.

Connections at Eliza Park International decided to bypass Sydney’s $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) and instead focus on the Danehill and then the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne on October 10 with the More Than Ready colt.

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