The Mr Brightside chant could be the new anthem of spring in Melbourne and Sydney after a breathtaking Group 1 Memsie Stakes blitz.
There was something for everyone in the first Group 1 of the Victorian season on Saturday at Caulfield but nothing rivalled the Ben, JD and Will Hayes-trained sensation Mr Brightside.
The dual Doncaster and All-Star Mile winner raced three-wide the trip, thanks to barrier 14, but sidled up to Alligator Blood as if dropped into the race at the top of the home straight.
Princess Grace and I Wish I Win peppered away, inside and outside the winner, but neither got close enough to eyeball the $9.3m earner Mr Brightside in front of a crowd of 7421 – up from 6657 last year.
WHAT A SUPERSTAR! 💚
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) September 2, 2023
Champion jockey Craig Williams read the play beautifully after walking the track again before the race.
“I felt it’s not going to be a disadvantage to him if he sits wider rather than having the rail,” Williams said.
“I thought I had two options and the horse rewarded me with the decision I made and he’s really tough … I just loved the way he loves to stick his head out front, pinned back his ears.”
Williams doubled down on his assessment after winning the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes first-up that Mr Brightside is “going to be the best miler in Australia”.
“If the Hayes boys want to go somewhere else with him this horse won’t disappoint because he’s a competitive horse, they’ve got a good handle on him and I’d be happy to put my red saddle on him wherever he runs,” Williams said.
The Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 16 is the next port of call for Mr Brightside before a decision is made on whether to head to Sydney for $5m Group 1 King Charles III Stakes before the $5m Cox Plate on October 28.
— Racing.com (@Racing) September 2, 2023
Trainer Ben Hayes focused on the now on Saturday and rightly so.
“I think we’re all pinching ourselves, Will’s had his first Group 1 win which is amazing, the whole team got a big buzz out of it,” Hayes said.
“Everyone back at the farm behind the scenes has really worked hard and to get the results like this with a special horse like Mr Brightside is incredible.”
Despite not able to get the result on Saturday, champion trainer Peter Moody was thrilled with I Wish I Win’s first-up performance six weeks out from $20m The Everest.
“He’s run super, just peaked the last little bit, we couldn’t be more pleased without winning,” Moody said.
“He’s run enormous, he came out, had the race won and peaked the last 80m-100m, at that level, the two in front of him both had a run under their belt, both very good horses.”