Top jockey Dwayne Dunn claims Headwater is showing all the signs that he’s back to his best after a winless spring campaign.
But that will be put to the test when the colt resumes in Saturday’s Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.
Headwater emerged as a top-line juvenile last season winning on debut at Moonee Valley and then taking out the Silver Slipper which propelled him to Golden Slipper favouritism.
He lost favouritism after being beaten in the Todman Stakes and then finished fifth to Vancouver in the Golden Slipper.
The colt, by Newmarket Handicap winner Exceed And Excel out of Oakleigh Plate winner River Dove, was unplaced in his four spring starts at Group level with his best performance a fourth in the Group One Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley.
Dunn has only ridden Headwater once in a race, when unplaced in the Danehill Stakes last September, but has had plenty to do with the colt on the training track in Melbourne and has been taken by how the three-year-old has come back.
“He seems to be much more relaxed this time in so if he can take that to the races it’s going to be a big bonus for him,” Dunn said.
Dunn said Headwater was “in the wilderness” last campaign and didn’t reach the level he showed during his juvenile season, aside from his good run in the Moir.
“He was doing it all upside down and wanting to over-race and just not wanting to work with us,” he said.
“I think now he’s matured a bit more and he’s starting to do what we’re asking him to do and delivering that on the track in the mornings.”
Dunn is confident Headwater has the quality to make his mark first-up against older horses as long as he puts his best foot forward.
“He had shown us that he was above this class,” Dunn said.
“He was in the wilderness a bit last preparation but seems to be back on track now. He’s just got to take it to the races now.”
Headwater has firmed from $13 to $7.50 for the Kensington Stakes with the Mark Kavanagh-trained Wild Rain easing to $4 but keeping favouritism ahead of last year’s winner The Quarterback at $5.50.