The Lindsay Park training triumvirate of Ben, JD and Will Hayes are confident their Kiwi-bred star Mr Brightside can return to his winning ways when he heads to The Valley on Saturday.
The son of Bullbars has been a standout of the spring, having won the Gr.2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), before his winning run came to an end last start in the Gr.1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m) when runner-up to Fangirl at Randwick.
“Obviously you’re flat when you’re favourite and you get beaten, but when you strip it back, we ran into Fangirl, who loves firm tracks,” Ben Hayes told Racing.com.
“She ran a career peak, she’s got very good form and she’s a genuine chance in the Cox Plate as well.
“He ran well. He didn’t enjoy the firm surface, we’re hoping the track is at least a Good4 for the race and he’ll be fine on that surface. We’ve seen him on the Good4s perform really well.”
Hayes’ confidence grew at the barrier draw on Tuesday after picking the two alley.
“We’re really happy,” Hayes said. “We wanted him to draw an inside draw, luckily enough (we were) called out early and we were able to draw barrier two.
“It’s the same barrier he won the All-Star Mile (A$5 million, 1600m) from. he’s got a great record at The Valley.
“One of his question marks, a lot of people were saying, is will he run 2000m? I think barrier two gives him every opportunity to do that, he should have a nice soft run.
“All I can say is the horse is in fantastic order, his work this (Tuesday) morning at the farm was excellent and he’s got a real chance, the stable is very confident.”
The Hayes family has a strong legacy in the Cox Plate, which the Lindsay Park team would like to extend this weekend.
“I know for the family and Will and JD and I, a Cox Plate would be a big thrill, to continue that history in the Cox Plate,” Hayes said.
“It is something we’d like to do – we got very close with Criterion a couple of years ago, unfortunately we ran into Winx.
“That year, that was when I personally really wanted to win one.
“This is our best opportunity to date, so hopefully we can do it.”
– NZ Racing Desk