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Image: Steve Hart
The Everest picture has changed significantly with Brutal now a leading market contender

The Everest picture has changed significantly with Brutal now a leading market contender despite Hawkes Racing refusing to count him in the mix after his Premiere Stakes win at Randwick.

The Doncaster Mile winner made his return and a big impression in Saturday’s Group Two race over the 1200m of the $14 million Everest.

Brutal ($5) beat Home Of The Brave ($31) by a long neck with $2.25 favourite Classique Legend another half length third after looming to win.

Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said Brutal’s campaign had been delayed by a head cold with the $7.5 million Golden Eagle on November 2 his aim.

That plan still leaves the Everest on October 19 in play but Hawkes would not be drawn on whether there has been any negotiations for a slot.

“They are things we don’t discuss on race day. We are a stable that loves to see how our horses pull up,” he said.

“He will be on everyone’s talking points. Is he good enough to run – of course he is. Will we run – that is yet to be determined.

“The plan was always to have two runs into the Golden Eagle. He’s beaten the so called best sprinters in the land at the moment.”

Classique Legend’s trainer Les Bridge was left to ponder what might have been.

“I thought he was going to go straight past them,” he said.

Jockey Nash Rawiller was also puzzled.

“I’m a lIttle bit perplexed,” he said.

“He had a nice run when the pace was slow before the corner.

“He did race a little bit greenly on straightening. I would just like to see how pulled up, I don’t think we saw the real horse today.”

Last year’s Everest third placegetter Osborne Bulls Ran last of the five runners and was found to be lame with Home Of The Brave staking his claim for Godolphin’s Everest slot.

The TAB reacted by firming Brutal from $26 to $9 for The Everest.

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