Star galloper Mr Brightside has returned in imperious fashion when successful in Saturday’s Gr.2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, a race the son of Bullbars won last year.
Prepared by Ben, Will & JD Hayes, the multiple Group One winner covered the 1400m in a slick 1.21.71s as he went on to score by just under two lengths from Pinstriped, with fellow New Zealand-bred runner Aegon charging home into third.
With regular jockey Craig Williams in the saddle, Mr Brightside sat fifth off the pace, but soon moved up to the leaders Buffalo River and Western Empire on the point of the turn.
Once he straightened, he ran away from the field under minimal urgings as the six-year-old continues to go from strength to strength.
“The way that Ben, JD and Will Hayes prepare this horse makes my job very easy,” Williams said.
“His performance today, 12 months after winning the same race, he’s just gone to another level, which is quite scary given he is arguably the best miler in Australia.
“He’s just really showing how good he is. Mentally, he is a lot more professional and you could feel that today.
“Wherever they decide to go with him, I want to be on his back.”
Co-trainer Ben Hayes said that despite Mr Brightside showing his class in his work leading up to his return, he was nervous as the field faced the starter. Those nerves didn’t last too long.
“From when he jumped, he landed in a beautiful position and it was a very easy watch,” he said.
“It was an absolute 10 out of 10 ride from Craig and he really stamped his authority today.
“He won impressively and won very easy and I think that is really exciting and hopefully he’s improved again.”
Hayes said Mr Brightside was likely to go to the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) over the same course in two weeks before stepping to a mile in the Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, with the A$5million King Charles III Stakes (1600m) at Randwick a likely target.
Mr Brightside was bred by Ray Johnson in partnership with his late wife Martha. He was sold as a yearling for $22,000 via Janine Dunlop’s Phoenix Park at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock May Sale, then failed to meet his $50,000 reserve when re-offered at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale.
Later an opportunity arose for Johnson to buy him back on gavelhouse.com for just $7,750, and he finished a luckless fifth in his sole New Zealand start at Matamata for Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning. He was later sold privately to clients of the Hayes stable via Australian agent Wayne Ormond.
The Kiwi bred star has now won 12 of his 24 starts, with a further four placings and boasts prizemoney of A$8,423,677.