Exciting gelding Mr Brightside could extend his winning run to four at Sandown on Sunday when he lines-up in a competitive-looking Gr.1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
It will be the first time the son of Bullbars will be tested over further than a mile, but the increase in trip poses no concerns for trainers Ben and JD Hayes.
The brothers have always had time for the five-year-old who they believe has gone to another level this spring after winning both of his outings – the Gr.2 Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and Gr.2 Feehan Stakes (1600m).
“He has shown he is up to weight-for-age class, winning at Group Two level. This will be a real test I am looking forward to seeing how he goes,” Ben Hayes told RSN.
“It will be the first time we see him over a mile, but I don’t think that will be a problem.
“In his win in the Feehan he ran the fastest last 600m of the entire meeting and there were sprint races on that day. It is often a good sign that you are going to get further than a mile.”
Mr Brightside will be met by a small but select field this weekend but the Lindsay Park team believe their charge will be more than competitive.
“It is only small but it is a cracker field (on Sunday), they are all very good horses,” Hayes said.
“I am really interested to see what happens. Small fields are very tactical and I think the horse with the best run will win.
“I think he has improved from his last prep. He does need to improve to be competitive in the races that we are aiming him for.
“If he finishes top three and is competitive I will be very happy. It means we are on track. It is not our grand final, there is improvement to come in him.
“We haven’t really screwed him down for this race and we will allow him to improve naturally.”
The Kiwi import was originally trained by Ralph Manning in Cambridge, for whom he ran a luckless fifth in his sole New Zealand start at Matamata before being sold privately to clients of the Hayes stable via Australian agent Wayne Ormond.
Manning and good friends Shaun Dromgool and Ray Johnson purchased Mr Brightside as an unraced two-year-old off gavelhouse.com for just $7,750, with some insight into the youngster.
Johnson, with his late wife Martha, had bred and sold the son of Bullbars as a yearling at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock May Sale for $22,000 via Janine Dunlop’s Phoenix Park before he had failed to meet his $50,000 reserve when re-offered at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale.
Later an opportunity arose to buy him back off gavelhouse.com and despite being aware the horse had a few tricks, Johnson jumped at the opportunity to buy back in.