IN Racing
Hong Kong hopes for Mr Brightside
Trainers Ben and JD Hayes are hoping to be up in Hong Kong alongside their father David racing at Sha Tin in December.
NZ Racing Desk | April 12, 2022
Mr Brightside winning the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m). Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Trainers Ben and JD Hayes are hoping to be up in Hong Kong alongside their father David racing at Sha Tin in December.

The brothers scored their biggest win in their fledgling training partnership when Kiwi-bred Mr Brightside took out the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick earlier this month, and they have put a circle around the international races later this year.

The son of Bullbars has headed to the spelling paddock in preparation for what could be a busy time ahead of him.

“We really foresee him having a big 12 to 18 months and this is an opportune time to get his head down in grass and hit the reset button,” JD Hayes told Bensley.

“It will allow us a lot of time to put a really good base into him and then push forward into a preparation where we are hoping, if everything goes well, he will be competitive over the main races in spring.

“We will be dictated to by how well we go in the spring, but that opens up the option of a possible Hong Kong trip.”

Although he has posted seven victories from 13 starts up to a mile, Hayes believes the best is still ahead of the four-year-old, and over more ground.

“He is still a blank canvas and I still do feel like he hasn’t got to his ideal trip,” Hayes said.

“You also think about the benefit that he will take out of this preparation and into the next preparation, I think there is a considerable amount of improvement, and time will hopefully prove us right.

“I believe he will be more effective over 10 furlongs and even 2400m, just the way that he settles and he has got a beautiful turn of foot.

“Even in the Doncaster, he got left a bit flat-footed at the top of the straight and he was really strong late. That is usually the telling of a horse that would be better over a bit more ground.

“He picked himself off the canvas and attacked the line to win the race, albeit with a light race.”

Lindsay Park have already pencilled in a spring campaign for Mr Brightside, which will commence in early spring.

“We will look to bring him back into work in the middle of May. That gives him a good four or five weeks off in the paddock,” Hayes said.

“We will look to target the PB Lawrence (Gr.2, 1400m) first-up, leading into the Memsie (Gr.1, 1400m), and third-up into the Makybe Diva (Gr.1, 1600m).

“From there you can either go to Turnbull (Gr.1, 2000m) or Underwood (Gr.1, 1800m), and that will dictate whether we go for a Cox Plate (Gr.1, 2040m) or Caulfield Cup (Gr.1, 2400m).

“They are ambitious plans, but we think the horse is deserving after winning the Doncaster.”

Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning and good friends Shaun Dromgool and Ray Johnson purchased Mr Brightside as an unraced two-year-old off for just $7,750, with some insight into the youngster.

Johnson had bred and sold the son of Bullbars as a yearling at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock May Sale for $22,000 before he had failed to meet his $50,000 reserve at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale, and later an opportunity arose to buy him back off online auction

The four-year-old gelding was initially trained in New Zealand by Manning for whom he ran a luckless fifth in his sole New Zealand start at Matamata before joining the Hayes brothers.

Ben and JD Hayes Mr Brightside Gr.1 Doncaster Mile Bullbars Ralph Manning New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale Shaun Dromgool Ray Johnson