Talented filly Real Surreal is on track to return to racing in the Group 2 Light Finger Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick next Saturday after recording a comfortable win in a barrier trial over 1000 metres this morning.
Real Surreal was positioned just behind the leader Shahad by jockey James McDonald in the early stages of the trial at Royal Randwick and worked home strongly to record an impressive win, despite not being asked for an extra effort.
The daughter of Real Saga has not been seen at the races since her narrow win over Sweet Idea in the Magic Millions Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 12 last year, but is set to take on champion filly Guelph in the Light Finger Stakes.
Team Hawkes is still unsure what will be the major 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival goal for Real Surreal, but have been happy with the progress of the three-year-old since she returned from the spelling paddock at the end of last year.
Shahad has performed fairly since making her racing debut in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival, but has been unable to breakthrough for a maiden race win.
The Fastnet Rock filly finished a narrow second behind Scandiva in the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and was not disgraced in three starts during her spring preparation; finishing fourth in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m), fourth in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and eighth in the Listed Reginald Allen (1400m).
Gai Waterhouse-trained Hippopus worked home fairly to finish third in the barrier trial and the leading Sydney trainer will be hopeful that the High Chaparral colt can return to the form that he showed as a three-year-old during his autumn campaign.
Hippopus finished second in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) and won the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) last autumn but was unable to replicate that form in the spring; finishing fourth in the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m), seventh in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) and 12th in the Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m).
Imported Waterhouse-trained stayers The Offer and 2013 Melbourne Cup runner Tres Blue were both given quiet trials and finished towards the tail of the field.