Mr Brightside (NZ) Stars Again in Sixth Group One

26 February 2024

Mr Brightside (NZ) streches away to another Group One win.

Less than five years after being bought for $22,000 from the Karaka May Sale and passed in at the Ready to Run Sale, the incredible Mr Brightside (NZ) (Bullbars) is a six-time Group One winner with an ever-growing place in Australian racing folklore.

The phenomenal gelding scored another brilliant victory in Saturday’s A$750,000 Group One Lamaro’s Hotel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, which was the 16th win of his 31-race career. He has earned A$12.37m, which is almost 600 times his purchase price at the 2019 Karaka May Sale and more than 250 times his reserve at the 2019 Ready to Run Sale.

Mr Brightside began this season as ‘only’ a two-time Group One winner, having captured the 2022 and 2023 editions of the famous Doncaster Mile (1600m) in Sydney. But it has been his stunning six-year-old season that has made him so unforgettable.

He kicked off the spring with a winning treble in the Group Two PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Group One Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), then ventured to Sydney and ran second in the Group One King Charles III Stakes (1600m). After a desperately close second in the Group One Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley, he closed out his spring preparation with another runner-up finish in the Group One Champions Mile (1600m).

Mr Brightside made a brilliant return to racing with a last-gasp win in the Group One CF Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 10, and he returned to the same venue for Saturday’s Futurity and stole the show again.

Patiently ridden by Craig Williams, Mr Brightside settled in fifth and bided his time as front-runner Buffalo River (Noble Mission) opened up a margin of at least half a dozen lengths through the middle stages of the race.

Williams brought Mr Brightside into the clear in the straight and released the brakes, and the superstar bounded past Buffalo River and won by a length and a half from the late-finishing Pericles (Street Boss).

“You can call him a champion now without using that word too loosely,” Williams said. “He’s an amazing thoroughbred. He just keeps getting the job done at the top level.

“I’ve got so much faith and confidence in him, and it’s easy to have that confidence when you see his record and know what he can do. We’re all putting Mr Brightside under pressure, but he’s just an amazing horse. He’s a great athlete, a winner and a pleasure to ride. When he’s that good, you just naturally have that confidence in him and the people around him. He’s phenomenal.

“I think this performance was better than the Orr, which was a gruelling race. He was more dominant today.

“I’m just very grateful. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of this horse’s development, and we’re all reaping the rewards from the hard work that he does. How can you knock him? He’s feared by his rivals. I guess I feel a bit like Max Verstappen, just jumping on him and spinning him around the track.

“A lot of people are getting behind Mr Brightside now, and even opposition trainers were wishing me good luck today, because they like to see good horses go around. So, Mr Brightside, you’re a champion.”

Along with his syndicate of owners, Mr Brightside is also providing an extraordinary experience for his trainers, Ben, Will and JD Hayes.

“He’s well and truly in the realm of the word ‘champion’ now,” Will Hayes said. “It’s so humbling every time we’re the ones that get to put a saddle on him, because when he can come out and run these sorts of races, you’re just gobsmacked every time.”

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