By Ray Hickson
Doncaster Mile winner Brutal will make his long awaited spring debut in a Randwick trial on Friday as the Hawkes stable takes aim at the inaugural $7.5m The Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on November 2.
What was essentially a ‘head cold’ has kept the star four-year-old back but co-trainer Michael Hawkes said it hasn’t affected a campaign that was always going to be on the light side.
Brutal worked at Rosehill on Tuesday morning and was given the tick by Hawkes to line up in a 1050m trial with his resumption pencilled in for the Group 2 $500,000 Premiere Stakes (1200m) on Saturday week.
“He did a nice piece of work and he’s all systems go for Friday,’’ he said.
“We’ll see him step out and more than likely, provided he trials well and everything is good, he’ll be first-up in the Premiere.
“He’s ticking over nicely, it’s a long spring. It’s exciting times, the races on offer are there and that’s what we are looking at. I’m looking forward to it, he’s a really nice horse and he’s maturing lovely.’’
Hawkes confirmed the Golden Eagle is the target but as is the norm with the stable the path between the Premiere and the Eagle is not set in stone.
He could only have the one lead up, he could run in the Group 3 $500,000 Sydney Stakes (1200m) on Everest Day and it’s not out of the realms of possibility, riven the likes of Classique Legend, Sunlight, possibly Santa Ana Lane will run in the Premiere, that he could attract interest for the TAB Everest itself.
On the back of his Doncaster win Brutal was installed an early favourite with TAB to take out the inaugural Golden Eagle.
Given he’s been out of sight until now he’s slipped to third elect $6 behind two horses who are likely to attempt the TAB Everest-Eagle double in Arcadia Queen ($3) and Classique Legend ($4.50).
“With him less is more, he’s already done it, he’s a colt and he’s proven,’’ Hawkes said.
“Whether it is two runs or three runs this time in, so long as they are the right runs and he’s placed in the right races that’s all that counts. Whatever race he runs in he is going to be competitive.’’
It’s easy to forget Brutal has only had seven starts and his Doncaster triumph came on the back of a game second behind Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes, over the same 1500m course that the Golden Eagle will be run.
Hawkes is excited to see what Brutal can do as a four-year-old as he bucks the trend of Group 1 winning colts making early exits to stud.
“The ownership group before he was sold was always going to race him on at four,’’ he said.
“It depends on each individual horse but a horse like Brutal hopefully has a lot more to give even though he’s only had seven starts and has already won a Doncaster.
Brutal wins the Doncaster Mile at Randwick in April
“These horses aren’t mature yet, you don’t get to see the best of them.
“That was why going back to the Octagonal and Lonhro days Jack and Bob (Ingham) wanted to race their horses on because they were passionate about racing.
“Unfortunately the dollar kicks in from the stud value and we don’t get to see the best of these colts and that’s why the Winxs and Black Caviars and those mares kept racing on.
“It’s a funny thing this sport, you’ve got to treat it as it is and go for the ride when you can.’’
The Golden Eagle is shaping as a huge spring highlight with some classy international nominations and confirmation expected soon as to how many will enter quarantine to make the trip.
It’s preceded by the $500,000 Silver Eagle, over 1300m at Randwick on October 12, where the likes of Graff, Fasika, emerging Tasmanian galloper The Inevitable and Victorian Buffalo River will press their claims for exemption by finishing top three.