The pre-spring signs for Hawkes Racing continue to be positive following the soft five-length win on debut of the team's O'Reilly colt Brutal at Caulfield on Saturday.
A little more than 24 hours after sprint champ Chautauqua took his first step towards a return from a racing ban with an impressive jumpout at Flemington, Brutal showed he was a horse with immediate spring potential with his dominant performance.
Brutal (NZ) and Dwayne Dunn, picture Quentinjlang.com
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said he expected the colt would prove hard to beat but did not bank on such a brilliant running performance.
"He's shown us that ability to quicken up at home but it's really pleasing to see it in his race," he said.
"He's got a bit of ground to make up on a horse like (Golden Slipper winner) Estijaab, who's set the benchmark, but he's heading the right way."
Hawkes said it was pleasing that Brutal could have a run and a win as a two-year-old as rarely are the progeny of New Zealand sire O'Reilly early runners.
Starting at $5 after opening at $4, Brutal found the lead early for jockey Dwayne Dunn and was never headed, eventually sprinting clear over the final 200 metres as the two other favoured runners were making their way from the back of the field.
Fastnet Rock colt Ronan's Rock ($3.50) was slow out on his debut for Lindsay Park before unleashing a fine sprint late to grab second place, half a length ahead of the $2.80 favourite Humma Humma, who finished reasonably from midfield.
As for Chautauqua, who now travels to Sydney for an official trial to attempt to lift his racing ban for past barrier indiscretions, Hawkes said the stable could not be more pleased.
"He pulled up exceptionally well," Hawkes said. "He was as bright as a button this morning."