Mr Brightside, the horse that has delivered Ben and JD Hayes nearly every ‘first’ of their training partnership, has given them another reason to celebrate with successive wins in the Doncaster Mile.
Ridden by champion Hong Kong-based jockey Zac Purton, Mr Brightside ($6 fav) fought doggedly in the heavy conditions to fend off My Oberon ($31) by a head with Nugget ($21) running a huge race for third, another three-quarters of a length in arrears.
The Hayes brothers are third generation trainers, following in the footsteps of their father David and grandfather Colin and Ben Hayes says Mr Brightside has been a life-changing horse.
“We actually weren’t sure we won so we were holding our breath but what a ride by Zac (Purton), ten out of ten,” Ben Hayes said.
“I’m so happy for everyone, it’s such a good result and he’s such a special horse for us.
“He was our first city winner, first Listed winner, our first Group winner, first Group One winner and now our first dual Doncaster winner.”
Craig Williams is Mr Brightside’s regular rider and piloted him to victory in the Doncaster Mile (1600m) last year but sidelined by injury, Williams has missed the horse’s past two wins in the All-Star Mile and Saturday’s feature.
Purton, who enjoys a successful association with David Hayes in Hong Kong, got the call-up for The Championships and didn’t falter, snaring his third Group 1 of the autumn after winning the Canterbury Stakes on Artorius and Randwick Guineas on Communist.
“We drew the perfect gate to get the perfect run,” Purton said.
“It’s not easy to win one Doncaster, it’s very hard to win two, especially on testing ground like this.
“He was labouring in the ground but he’s honest, his class got him through.”
Ben Hayes confirmed Mr Brightside would look to back-up in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) next week where he would clash with Anamoe and Dubai Honour.
John Allen on My Oberon said the horse was outstanding back on his favoured wet surface but just couldn’t reel in Mr Brightside.
“I thought I was the winner halfway down the straight. To the winner’s credit he dug deep,” Allen said.
Andrew Gibbons achieved his best result in a major with a third on Nugget and felt from a better draw the horse could have made it interesting.
“Change the draw (barrier 22), race a pair closer and it could be a different result,” Gibbons said.
– RAS NewsWire