Maiden Of The Week

Head Of State (AUS)

Head Of State (AUS)

2 c American Pharoah – Derelique by Danehill Dancer

O: Coolmore, Wynaus, Westerberg, J Poulin, Sir P J Vela, Chris Waller Racing, Lynque, Woppitt Bloodstock, Peachester Lodge Pty Ltd, K J Pooley, Mrs J L Pooley, Rockingham Thoroughbreds & R McClure

B: Brad Crismale

T: Chris Waller

S: 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale V: Lime Country Thoroughbreds P: Tom Magnier, $850,000 

W: Stud & Stable Staff Awards Plate, 1300m, February 10, Warwick Farm

For the first time in nearly two decades, a son or daughter of an American Triple Crown winner is eligible for the Maiden Of The Week title by breaking through for their first victory in either Australia or New Zealand. 

The last was the Kevin Robinson-trained Lawrence Clan, a son of 1977 Triple Crown hero Seattle Slew (Bold Reasoning), who won a 1300-metre maiden at Goulburn on April 3, 2001.

Ironically, it was under similar conditions over the same distance that this week’s Maiden Of The Week appeared.

Wednesday saw the 2015 winner of the Kentucky Derby (Gr 1, 10f), Preakness Stakes (Gr 1, 9.5f) and Belmont Stakes (Gr 1, 12f), American Pharoah (Pioneerof The Nile), record his first Australian winner when Head Of State (2 c ex Derelique by Danehill Dancer) proved too strong at Warwick Farm.

Sent out the $1.70 favourite after a handy trial win in January, the Chris Waller-trained Head Of State demonstrated the talent that saw him given his opportunity in the $1 million Golden Gift (1100m) at his first start, racing clear to score by two lengths over reliable yardstick Wilsons Prom (Xtravagant) with Collier Bay (Capitalist) in third.

The win has Waller dreaming of Group 1 races with the Coolmore-owned colt, with the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) and the Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) both likely targets.

“That was pretty exciting for American Pharoah, I was lucky enough to meet the horse and his trainer (Bob Baffert) at Coolmore in America and it was a real highlight for me,” said Waller. “This is his first Australian winner, but it won’t be his last. 

“Head Of State was a little bit green to my eye and wobbled around the bend a little bit. He’s probably not a natural on-pace horse, but he did everything right and let down strongly and he will take a lot of benefit from the win. We see him as a Sires, Champagne Stakes type of horse and if not he’ll be a Guineas horse in the spring.”

An $850,000 purchase from the Lime Country Thoroughbreds draft, on behalf of siblings Brad and Deanne Crismale, at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, being knocked down to Tom Magnier, Head Of State is the sixth named foal out of unraced mare Derelique (Danehill Dancer).

Her best performer so far has been Hobartville Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) winner Man From Uncle (Uncle Mo).

Second dam Hides (Giant’s Causeway), also unraced, is a half-sister to Group 1 performers Shania Dane (Danehill) and Scintillation (Danehill), while the extended family includes Epsom Derby (Gr 1, 1m 4f) winner Slip Anchor (Shirley Heights) and two-time Group 1-winning sprinter Hello Youmzain (Kodiac), who will shuttle to Cambridge Stud in New Zealand later this year.

Derelique produced another American Pharoah filly in 2019 and, after missing to So You Think (High Chaparral) last year, she returned to American Pharoah in September.