Mr Brightside (NZ) Marches On in Makybe Diva

18 September 2023

Mr Brightside (NZ) (Bullbars) continues to go strength from strength in his sensational spring, taking his career earnings past A$9m with another exceptional Group One victory in Saturday’s A$750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.

Mr Brightside
Mr Brightside (NZ) cruises to G1 victory again.
Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Bought for just $22,000 from the 2019 Karaka May Sale by Phill Cataldo and offered a few months later at the Ready to Run Sale, the superstar galloper has now had 26 starts for 14 wins, four placings and A$9,333,752 in stakes – more than 462 times his purchase price.

Mr Brightside has now won all of his last five races in succession. He took out the A$5m All-Star Mile (1600m) and his second Group One Doncaster Mile (1600m) in the autumn, and he has returned to action in unstoppable form this spring. He won the Group Two PB Lawrence Stakes (1600m) first-up on August 19, then added the Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) two weeks later.

On Saturday he did it again, becoming the first horse in history to complete the Lawrence-Memsie-Makybe Diva treble. Only two others have previously won both the Memsie and Makybe Diva in the same spring – Weekend Hussler (Hussonet) did it in 2018, followed by Dissident (Sebring) in 2014.

Small fields can create tactical challenges for hot favourites, but there was barely an anxious moment in Saturday’s Makybe Diva.

Mr Brightside settled into a comfortable rhythm in third spot, then cruised up alongside the front-running Alligator Blood (All Too Hard) in the straight while still under a firm hold from jockey Craig Williams.

Williams pushed the button inside the final 200 metres, and Mr Brightside kicked away to score by a length and a half.

“It was a great thrill to win a Makybe Diva Stakes in such great fashion, and especially with a horse I've spent so much time with and been part of his development,” Williams said. “It's very special for me. He’s amazing.”

Hayes Brothers
Hayes Brothers celebrate another Group One with Mr Brightside and jockey Craig Willaims 
Photo:Bruno Cannatelli

Mr Brightside is trained by the brothers Ben, Will and JD Hayes.

“He was a superstar today,” Ben Hayes said. “Craig just let the race unfold and we ended up in the one-one, which we thought was a possibility, and he travelled so strongly and it was quite an easy watch. 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 horse. We're so proud of him. He’s an incredible horse.

“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, I think he stamped his authority again today. He's definitely the horse to catch now, which is very exciting for us, and I hope we can enjoy the ride even more.”

The next stop in that ride is likely to be the A$5m Gr.1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 14.

“We've always got to see how the horse pulls up, but at this stage we are leaning towards Sydney and 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. I think it’s then two weeks into a Cox Plate (Group One, 2040m) which would be pretty good for him.”

Vendor Phoenix Park
Purchaser Phill Cataldo Bloodstock (Waikato)
Breeding Bullbars – Lilahjay
Sale Lot 159, 2019 Karaka May Sale, $22,000Lot 39, 2019 Ready to Run Sale, Psd (Res $50,000)
Bred by R I & Est Late M A G Johnson