Smith has new look Headwall ready to branch out

Trainer Matthew Smith is confident he’ll be producing a better version of Headwall than we’ve seen to date when he resumes at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

Trainer : MATTHEW SMITH.
Trainer : MATTHEW SMITH. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

Trainer Matthew Smith is confident he'll be producing a better version of Headwall than we've seen to date when he resumes at Kembla Grange on Saturday.

The lightly raced four-year-old has won three of his six starts, including one at Kembla, and Smith has been impressed with his development during his spell so has every reason to think the Elite Sand & Soil Handicap (1000m) is within his grasp.

Jockey Blake Spriggs is making a hit and run mission from his new Queensland base to continue his association with Headwall.

"He looks good, working well, can't fault him,'' Smith said.

"He's strengthened up a bit, he just needed a bit of time to grow into himself. We're going to have a good prep ahead of us I think.

"He's probably better suited on tracks with a bit of give in them."

With Kembla Grange reaching a soft 6 on Friday morning, Headwall will get conditions he'll relish and was $3.70 with TAB on Friday.

The gelding has been fitted with two barrier trials, the latest a solid finishing win at Rosehill with Spriggs in the saddle, and Smith said the way the race looks to pan out should suit him.

"He's going better this time around than last time, if he can get in a good position he will be fighting the finish out,'' he said.

"We don't need to be back too far so long as he's within striking range. Put him in fourth or fifth and get him hitting the line. I think he'll go through his grades for sure."

So far Smith hasn't asked Headwall to stretch beyond 1000m but that's going to change this preparation now the horse has furnished a bit more.

He had two starts in his first preparation, both wins, and four in his second so the Warwick Farm trainer said there's a good platform now for him to sustain a preparation.

"I'd like to give him a few runs now then give him a freshen up and go again,'' he said.

"I think he will run 1200m no problem at all. He has a good stride on him, a good action, he's just been wanting to do things a bit quick.

"So we've kept him short but I'm sure we will get him out in trip."

The track condition will sway Smith on whether to run Floating in the ABAX Contracting Handicap (1400m) after he found the ground a bit firm when resuming in the Goulburn Cup.

"I was going to see what the weather does, he really wants a wet track and he's drawn badly,'' he said.

Meanwhile, stable star Buenos Noches is enjoying a break after winding up his coming of age this spring with a gallant second to Imperatriz in the Champions Sprint at Flemington.

Things didn't really go to plan after he gained his Everest berth, he finished eighth in the $20 million sprint then was a late scratching at the gates in the Manikato Stakes.

Smith is planning to kick off his autumn in Melbourne then focus on the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick and potentially the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m). And another shot at the TAB Everest is on the cards.

"I was really happy to see him run that race and bounce back after Moonee Valley,'' he said.

"I have no doubt he's a Group 1 horse. At that level there's a lot of Group 1 horses in those races and a lot of horses don't win Group 1s so things have still got to go right."


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