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Brutal wins but Guineas uncertain

Brutal passed his first test at 1400 metres at Flemington on Saturday but the unbeaten colt has not yet locked in a spot in next month's $2 million Caulfield Guineas.

Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said options abound for the son of O'Reilly but warned that connections are willing to terminate his spring campaign and look toward the autumn with the horse despite the spring riches in front of him.

"Those races are there and they are very, very tempting but we are going to let him tell us what he wants to do," Hawkes said after the narrow victory.

"What he does this spring is only a bonus. In the autumn, we'll get fair dinkum.

"There's nothing locked in because he's only a baby. It's hard in your first prep to keep stepping up and stepping up."

Brutal, who drifted from $2.40 to start at $2.90, took the lead early in the Antler Luggage Plate but Hawkes said the he was a little worried mid-race as the colt was a bit fired-up due to the strong winds.

On turning for home, he had Leonardo Da Hinchi ($10) challenging on his outside and the Darren Weir-trained horse found the front before Brutal dug in. The pair went to the line together with Dwayne Dunn lifting Brutal to a memorable half-head victory.

"The other bloke had us cold two or three times," Hawkes noted about Leonardo Da Hinchi. "He's only a baby who is learning his trade. It's not easy to be out in front leading on a day when it's blowing a gale.

"He probably got a little bit keen in the run. He's not the fully furnished racehorse yet.

"I don't know whether he's going to the Caulfield Guineas. There's the Coolmore and the Golden Rose next Saturday.

"There are a stack of options and we'll let him tell us. It's his first prep."

Weir paid tribute to Brutal for fighting back and edging out his horse Leonardo Da Hinchi.

"It was a great race and we were happy with the way the horse went," he said.

"I am not sure what we will do but he's on that (Caulfield Guineas) path."

Luke Nolen said third-placed Good 'N' Fast, who was backed from $14 to $10, showed definite Guineas credentials when he motored home from near last.

"A terrific run," he said. "Settled back from an awkward draw but he finished off really well. There's nice improvement there so I'm really happy."

Also looking ahead to the Guineas were the connections of the fourth horse, Declarationofheart, who was backed in from $5.50 to $4.40 before coming home hard from 12th on the home turn.

Jockey Mark Zahra said: "I had to go back a bit further than I wanted from the barrier (12) to get cover. He was good through on the line and will eat up the mile."

Brutal (NZ) and Dwayne Dunn (yellow) hold out Leonardo Da Hinchi and Damien Lane (blue outside, picture Quentinjlang.com


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