Mr Brightside (NZ) Masters Memsie Stakes
4 September 2023
Already a two-time winner of Sydney’s most famous handicap, superstar Karaka graduate Mr Brightside (NZ) (Bullbars) confirmed his place among the best of Melbourne’s weight-for-age ranks with a supreme performance in Saturday’s A$750,000 Group One Stow Storage Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The Memsie was the 13th win of a 25-start career for Mr Brightside, who was bought for only $22,000 from the 2019 Karaka May Sale. He has now earned more than A$8.87m in prize-money, with his trophy cabinet also featuring the last two editions of the Group One Doncaster Mile (1600m), along with this year’s A$5m All-Star Mile (1600m).
Mr Brightside’s Memsie Stakes heroics continued a red-hot run of Group One form in Australia for graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock Sales, who won 14 times at the elite level across the Tasman last season. That trend has carried on into 2023-24, with the Memsie Stakes being Melbourne’s first Group One race of the new season.
Mr Brightside went into the Memsie in winning form, having scored an impressive first-up victory in the Group Two P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) over the same course and distance on August 19. But the bar was raised by several notches for his second-up assignment, jumping from gate 14 of 14 against a field that featured elite performers such as Alligator Blood (All Too Hard) and freakish Kiwi-bred I Wish I Win (NZ) (Savabeel). Mr Brightside had to be exceptional to earn the third Group One win of his career, and the six-year-old was up to the task.
Mr Brightside raced wide all the way, but he still had enough energy and fight in reserve to come out on top in a gruelling battle down the Caulfield straight.
After pouncing on the outside of Alligator Blood to hit the lead with just over 200 metres remaining, Mr Brightside found himself under siege on both sides. I Wish I Win charged forward out wide on the track, while Alligator Blood and Princess Grace (Karakontie) threw everything they had at him from closer to the rail.
But Mr Brightside dug deep and fought them all off, edging ahead to beat Princess Grace by a long neck, with I Wish I Win and Alligator Blood close behind in third and fourth respectively.
“I walked the track before the race, and I felt that it wasn’t going to be a disadvantage to sit a bit wider rather than having the rail,” Williams said. “The horse rewarded me for that decision – he was really tough. I just loved the way he stuck his head out and pinned back his ears. He felt like he was always going to hold them out.
“Thanks to Lindsay Park, the three Hayes boys (Ben, Will and JD Hayes, trainers) and the owners for giving me this opportunity. The boys are confident that the horse will continue to come on from this run, so he’s very exciting.
“Credit to all the people behind this horse, and of course Mr Brightside himself. He’s the one that does the running and makes me look good. The stable’s got a really good handle on him, and I’m very fortunate to be a part of his life as a racehorse.
“He’s going to be the best miler in Australia, and if the boys want to go somewhere else with him as well, I’m sure this horse won’t disappoint them. I’ll be happy to put my saddle on wherever he goes.”
Mr Brightside’s Memsie Stakes was a milestone result for the Hayes brothers, who celebrated their first Group One win since Will joined the partnership at the beginning of this season.
“I think we’re all pinching ourselves,” Ben Hayes said. “Will’s had his first Group One win, which is amazing. The whole team’s got a big buzz out of it. Everyone back at the farm behind the scenes has really worked hard, and this is an incredible result.”
JD Hayes echoed those comments and paid tribute to the stable’s pin-up horse, who was bought from New Zealand in a deal brokered by bloodstock agent Wayne Ormond.
“When I Wish I Win peeled off his back and was there to go past him in the straight, I was glad he’d had a run under his belt,” Hayes said. “He showed his fighting qualities, showed why he’s a star, and he really just lengthened and attacked the line.
“We wouldn’t be anywhere without this son of Bullbars, so I have to thank Wayne Ormond. He’s the one that found him. This horse has done enormous things for us and the team back home.”
|Phill Cataldo Bloodstock (Waikato)
|Bullbars – Lilahjay
|Lot 159, 2019 Karaka May Sale, $22,000Lot 39, 2019 Ready to Run Sale, Psd (Res $50,000)
|R I & Est Late M A G Johnson