The Team Hawkes-trained duo of Entirely Platinum and Messene finished first and second in a barrier trial over 930 metres at Rosehill Gardens this morning.
Godolphin gelding Adage jumped from the gates well and took up the running in the early stages of the trial, while Messene and Entirely Platinum settled just behind the leader with Chris Waller-trained Royal Descent in fourth.
Messene and Entirely Platinum both challenged for the lead coming around the final turn and Entirely Platinum hit the front at the 200 metre mark before going on to score a strong win from Messene and Royal Descent, who worked home strongly despite being kept under a heavy hold.
Entirely Platinum has not been seen at the races since he finished fourth in the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5 and Team Hawkes have revealed that the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) is on the agenda for the progressive stayer.
Messene recorded an amazing seven straight wins before he was beaten as favourite in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12, but he is set to be given another opportunity at Group 1 level during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4 and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8 are set to be the major spring targets for Messene, but Wayne Hawkes revealed last month that the son of Lonhro could run in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, if he shows that he is capable of competing at weight-for-age level.
Arguably the most impressive performance in the barrier trial came from Royal Descent, who was making her first public appearance since she finished fifth in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 19.
Royal Descent has not recorded a race win since her ten lengths romp in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 20, but has been a consistent performer at the highest level of racing; finishing second in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Her stablemate Bull Point was tightened for room in the final stages of the barrier trial, but was able to finish fourth, while Moriarty and Junoob were both given quiet trials.