buy Mr Brightside shines in Kiwi-bred Doncaster trifecta

Ben and JD Hayes have claimed their first Group One victory since taking the helm at Lindsay Park when graduate Mr Brightside (NZ) (Bullbars) headed home a New Zealand-bred 1-2-3 in the A$3 million Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) when finishing over the top of I’m Thunderstruck (NZ) (Shocking), with consistent mare Icebath (NZ) (Sacred Falls) finishing third.

The son of Bullbars has been a model of consistency since joining the Hayes stable from New Zealand, winning seven of his 12 starts for the young trainers while placing on a further two occasions.

The gritty galloper sat just off the speed three-wide throughout after beginning well from a wide draw and pulled out too many stops for the game runner-up I’m Thunderstruck, who carried five kilos more than the winner.

The significance of the win, the first in the Doncaster Mile for the multi-generational Lindsay Park team, was not lost on a delighted Ben Hayes.

“With all of the change we’ve had in the past year with Dad (David Hayes) going to Hong Kong and Tom (Dabernig) leaving the partnership, to get a result like this with all of our team is just the biggest thrill.

“Brightside is a special horse to us. He was our first city winner and first stakes winner in Victoria and now he is our first Group One winner, he is a special, special horse.”

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

“Wayne Ormond purchased him out of a race in New Zealand and he offered him to us. We got a couple of our clients, he got a couple of his clients and he just kept improving.”

Hayes and brother JD, who was also on course said they would take their time in assessing where the galloper headed next.

“He won impressively so we’ll have a good talk about it, (we) don’t make raceday decisions,” he said.

Mr Brightside was ridden by regular jockey Craig Williams, who has at various times been the principal rider for Lindsay Park, and the star hoop was thrilled with the result.

“They’re the future,” Williams said of the Hayes brothers.

“When they came into the yard today, Sydney’s biggest race on the first day of The Championships, as young trainers they just said ‘We’ll leave it up to you – tricky barrier draw’.

“But they said this horse is going better than he’s gone this whole prep. So they gave me the confidence and then we have to trust the horse and through their hard work and education and their processes, that’s the end result, they won a Group One.

“The way that this horse has come over from New Zealand in one preparation they just took the steps through his grades, really developed this horse. He’s still not a furnished product yet, so I’m really looking forward to an exciting spring now that he will probably be a weight for age horse.”

The result was another triumph for the New Zealand breeding industry, with the first three home by Bullbars, Shocking and the late Sacred Falls respectively.

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

“He was a little bit tricky to get on the track, so he came to us with a few little issues,” Manning recalled.

“We are 1500m to the track and train off 20 acres and we ride them to the track and it just helps those horses mentally.”

“He won his trial really easily for us and we put Opie (Bosson) on for his debut at Matamata and said ‘he just wins’.”

Rarely does champion rider Bosson find trouble, but on that February 2021 debut horse and rider had plenty of luck, and it was all bad, finishing fifth behind Comme Bella Fille (NZ) (Complacement), herself now a city winner in Sydney.

A committed seller, Manning confirmed it wasn’t long before buyers had spotted the unlucky galloper and the horse was on his way to Victoria.

“Full credit to the Hayes brothers. They just picked out the races nicely, going through the grades and placing him well. They have done an amazing job,” Manning said.

Mr Brightside becomes the first Group One winner for former Highview Stud stallion Bullbars, who has sired eight stakes performers to date.

Out of the unraced Tavistock mare Lilahjay (NZ), Mr Brightside is also the first Group One winner out of a daughter of Tavistock, with the late Cambridge Stud stallion making a remarkable start as a broodmare sire.

From his first 32 runners in that capacity, his daughters have produced five stakes winners including Straight Arron (Fastnet Rock), winner of the Gr.3 Carbine Club (1600m) earlier on the card. Mr Brightside has now won A$2,337,387 in prizemoney. – Racing News, photo Bruno Cannatelli


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