“I haven’t ridden 49 kilos since So You Think in the Cox Plate [in 2009] but I will get as close I can for this bloke because he looks the perfect profile for the race,” Boss said. «The run behind Winx is like winning a group 1 and he gets in without a penalty.
“I’m walking around at 52 at the moment and i’m the fittest I have been in a long while. I should almost get to 49 for Saturday, if not I will only be a half [kilogram] over because the weight is his big advantage.”
Boss has won Doncasters on Kermadec, Triple Honour, Haradasun, Racing To Win and Private Steer as three-year-olds, and believes Brutal is better weighted than all of them.
“He is absolutely pitchforked into the race. I have won the race five times on three-year-olds and the lightest they have had is 51 kilos, so 49 is unbelievable advantage,” he said. «He has the best form reference in the world — Winx.»
Brutal is still a $7 chance in the Doncaster, mainly because of uncertainty over his place in the field but will probably start favourite if he makes the final 20 to face the starter.
Alizee is the $5 top pick at BetEasy after Godolphin decided to wait for the big Randwick mile with her, instead of taking on the wet track at Rosehill on Saturday.
Blake Shinn has been booked for the ride on her, while Hugh Bowman will look to complete the Epsom-Doncaster double on Hartnell.
Team Hawkes have timed the preparation with Brutal beautifully and his second to Winx in her fourth George Ryder Stakes last start is a key reference.
During Winx’s remarkable four-year winning run, horses running placings behind her at their last start at weight-for-age have won two Epsoms and two Doncasters, while she has also completed the double.
Brutal started this preparation unbeaten in three starts and, although he hasn’t won any of his three autumn runs, he has impressed the stable.
He sat wide in the Southern Cross Stakes resuming and was a game third, before getting too far out of his ground when down the track in Trapeze Artist’s Canterbury Stakes. It was his George Ryder run that opened punters eyes to what Michael Hawkes had known all campaign.
“He probably didn’t get the best of rides at his first two runs,” Hawkes said. “He missed the start in the Canterbury Stakes and was too far back. I don’t think he would have beat Trapeze Artist but he would have ran second if he got away with them.
“For the owners it was like winning running second to Winx last start and he gets a big weight drop into the handicap.
“He is going very well and we are very happy with him heading to Saturday.”
The Doncaster is one of four group 1s on the first day of The Championships and shares top billing with the TJ Smith and Australian Derby.
The Hawkes stable doesn’t have runners in those two races but is expecting a big improvement from two-year-old Spring Loaded as he lines in the group 1 Sires’ Produces Stakes in the same colours as Brutal.
“We were disappointed with him in the Todman [Stakes where he was last] but we have put the blinkers on him since and he has been going really well,” Hawkes said.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald