Article – RACENET
The changing of the guard is complete.
Mr Brightside is the best miler in Australia after he relegated Alligator Blood to second in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes.
Alligator Blood, a five-time Group 1 winner, dictated the 1600m Flemington feature and looked to be in complete control until Lindsay Park superstar Mr Brightside and jockey Craig Williams surged past.
“He was a superstar today,” Ben Hayes said.
“Craig (Williams) just let the race unfold and we ended up in the one-one … and travelled so strongly and it was quite an easy look.
“It was the first time I’ve seen him with his tongue out so he’s sticking his tongue out at them but he won well and he’s such an exciting, we’re so proud of him, an incredible horse.”
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He had every possible chance, Alligator Blood, but could not go with Mr Brightside, as beaten jockey Damien Oliver conceded.
“He (Alligator Blood) had a really comfortable lead in front, no pressure,” Oliver said.
“He came up underneath me around the bend, gave a great kick, but the winner was just a bit too good.”
Mr Brightside made it back-to-back Group 1 successes, after the Memsie Stakes last start, and five feature wins on the bounce, taking in the All-Star Mile and a second Doncaster Mile last campaign.
The $5m King Charles III Stakes, rebranded and rescheduled George Main Stakes, beckons in two weeks before another fortnight to the $5m Cox Plate at The Valley.
“We’ll see how he pulls up first, we’ve always got to see how the horse pulls up but at this stage we are leaning towards Sydney, the King Charles,” Hayes said.
“He’s undefeated over a mile at weight-for-age and just won here very impressively so I think it’s a good race to head to and that’s two weeks into a Cox Plate which would be pretty good for him.”
Chris Waller trio Osipenko, Princess Grace and Francesco Guardi finished in order – third, fourth and fifth from Aegon and comeback stayer Spanish Mission.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his brothers JD and Will, joined father David (two) and grandfather Colin (four) on the Makybe Diva honour roll.
Williams, a four-time Makybe Diva winner, coincidently won his first in 2005 on the David Hayes-trained Confectioner.
Mr Brightside added to a growing list of firsts for the Hayes brothers, a maiden Group 1 at Flemington.
“Flemington’s the number one track in Australia and to have a horse of his quality be able to win and win like he did, albeit in a small field,” Hayes said.
“I think he really stamped his authority again today and he’s definitely the horse to catch now which is very exciting for us and I hope we can enjoy the ride more.”