Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Mr Brightside declared himself a spring contender with a fierce first-up win at Caulfield.
The Ben and JD Hayes-trained galloper contested the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on Saturday to claim his first win in age-weighted company.
Mr Brightside gave the Hayes brothers their first Group 1 win when they were successful at Doncaster at Randwick and may well give them a few more wins during the spring.
Mr Brightside sent the $4 favorite under Craig Williams to beat I Am Superman ($5) by half a neck and Buffalo River ($17) by a third.
“The horse is super special. For JD and I, he put us on the map,” said Ben Hayes.
“It was a beautiful ride from Craig and boy was he tough. He was right in the fight.
“It’s really exciting for the future. He wasn’t knocked out today, but he definitely showed up.”
Pleasing for the Hayes brothers was the step Mr Brightside made from being a major handicap winner in the autumn to leading the weight-for-age society.
Hayes said his preferred option would be to target the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley in October rather than going for the Caulfield Cup (2400m) a week earlier.
He said no firm decision had been made on which direction Mr Brightside would go, but Hayes said he would like to see the gelding in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on September 3.
Success in this race grants the winner an exemption from being voted into the Cox Plate.
“He showed he could mix it up with them in the All-Star Mile, it was a very good ride and then he went on and won the Doncaster,” Hayes said.
“To win here first, that’s something he hasn’t done for us before and the way he stretched it was really exciting.
“It’s going to be an interesting build-up. I’d like to see him over 2000m because I think he’ll be better when he gets to the mile.
“So I think we’ll stick to our guns and go see Feehan and see him in the Vale and that might give us an idea of where to go next.
“I think it’s a big ask to go to 2400 meters without knowing it, but I have to talk to everyone, no decision has been made.
“I think 2000 meters is a good progression and then we can try it on the trip.”
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