No Country for any favourite punters as trainer Liam Birchley tries to explain form reversal
TRAINER Liam Birchley ended one of his most satisfying weeks by answering to stewards after enigmatic three-year-old Headwater Country had one of his “on” days at Doomben.
The son of Snitzel notched his third win this campaign, but they have been woven between three other “duck egg” runs where he has not been sighted.
Stewards had concerns about the $21 to $12 betting move after his last-start flop at the Sunshine Coast.
“It wasn’t me,” Birchley said deadpan, before unleashing an explanation that indicated Headwater Country is a long way from being the most popular horse in the stable.
“I can’t follow him myself. His form is one, zero, zero, one, zero, one.
“He did get a breather in the middle stages and that’s obviously helped him, but he is a very hard horse to follow.
“Because he is un-genuine, I try to space his races a bit, but in saying that, I don’t get the desired result all the time.”
Stewards noted the explanation.
Headwater Country saw off a challenge from the other betting ring mover Flamboyer ($5.50-$4 favourite) and then comfortably held eye-catching first-up runner Suit in the sprint to the line.
Birchley completed a “rough” double later in the day when Cum Dividend ($15 to $12) led all the way to win the Open Handicap.
“Everything fell into place for him.
“I opted to go for the claim and carry 52kg and hoped some rain would arrive.
“As it turned out, the timing of the shower was perfect and he loves the cut out of the ground,” he said.
It followed Birchley’s Grafton Ramornie success with Rock Royalty at juicy odds on Wednesday.
“I enjoyed Wednesday night, having won the Ramornie and then watching the Origin demolition,” Birchley said.
“I think I probably pulled up (on Thursday) slightly better than the Origin boys.”
Jockey Glen Colless told Kelly Schweida not to be too disappointed with the third placing of Golden Falls in the final event.
Colless said the filly did not travel as well through the wet ground as she did when she was a winner at her previous start.
“She didn’t tow me into the race like she did last time,” Colless said.
He said he had reservations before the race about the daughter of Encosta De Lago getting through the ground.
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail