Australia

Back

Williams and Brightside again in Futurity

Mr Brightside (NZ) further endeared himself to star jockey Craig Williams with a win in Saturday's Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield. The Ben, Will and JD Hayes-trained gelding registered his sixth victory at the highest level when he justified a $1.50 starting price to outclass his rivals in the $750,000 event.

The victory was the New Zealand-bred son of Bullbars' sixteenth win, 14 of which Williams has been a part of — the greatest number of wins he has celebrated aboard an individual horse. In second place, on 11 wins, is Miss Finland, who Williams partnered to five Group 1 successes — the same number he has now teamed with Mr Brightside (NZ) for.

Williams and Mr Brightside (NZ) have the Futurity Stakes in the bag; picture Racing Photos

The Futurity Stakes win prompted Williams to happily declare the earner of $12,377,752 can now be labelled a champion.

"He's an amazing thoroughbred and we can call him a champion now without using that word too loosely," Williams said. "He's well-performed and just gets the job done all the time at the top level.”

The Futurity Stakes success gave Mr Brightside (NZ) another win over the Caulfield 1400m, to go with wins in the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes, Group 1 Memsie Stakes and past two editions of the Group 2 P B Lawrence Stakes, but few less heartaches than his first-up win in the Orr Stakes.

He again had tearaway leader Buffalo River (USA) to chase, but flowed into the race better than his previous start and loomed as the likely winner midway down the straight.

Mr Brightside (NZ) held off Pericles ($9.50) to score by 1-1/2 lengths, with Buffalo River ($11) boxing on gamely to hold down third, a further 1-1/4 lengths away.

"I know it was a bit more gruelling first-up but it was a more dominant performance," Williams said. "[There was] still pressure but he's an amazing horse how he endures it.

“You look at Fangirl, who's the only one who really upset his apple cart last preparation, and you saw her win with ease. Well he's just had races that have been brutally ran and he just keeps delivering."

The Futurity Stakes was Mr Brightside's final start before he defends his All-Star Mile on March 16, for which he is now the $2.20 favourite.

"They were two pretty hard races, so he'll be going back to the water walker and the day paddocks back at Lindsay Park and keeping his head down for some well-earned grass," Will Hayes said.

What Craig Williams reported:

On the horse: “I can only ride the horse I’ve got, I’ve got so much faith and confidence in him, it’s probably easy too when you see his record and what he can do, but when Ben, JD and will Hayes get here and tell me where the horse is, they’ve got such a great handle on him, even Will his strapper, it makes my job really easy and I guess we’re all putting Mr Brightside under pressure but Mr BS is just an amazing horse, a great athlete and he’s got no BS in him, he’s a killer, he’s a winner and he’s a pleasure to ride.”

Trust with the horse: “As a jockey, as a rider, riding a horse like him, and knowing him over such a period of time, not only being a part of his development, his growth, when he’s that good you just have the confidence in him, you have the confidence in the people behind him and then it’s up to him to do all the running and he’s phenomenal.”

Compared to first up win: “Better. I know it was a bit more gruelling first up but it was a more dominant performance, still pressure but he’s an amazing horse how he endures it, you look at Fangirl who’s the only one who really upset his apple cart last preparation, and you saw her win with ease well he’s just had races that have been brutally ran and he just keeps delivering.”

Warrior: “I just love the Hayes boys, they tell me he’s like a football player, a great analogy, that he’s a bit bruised and battered the next day and then two days later he starts coming good and then by the third day they send me videos of him running around the paddock and I was like wow, how well has he pulled up and then I’m like ‘don’t hurt yourself because you’re going too well!’. My job’s really simple, I’ve got a lot of confidence. An amazing thoroughbred and we can call him a champion now without using that word too loosely, he’s well performed and just gets the job done all the time at the top level.”

What the beaten jockeys reported:

Jamie Kah (Pericles): “A fantastic run. Running second to Mr Brightside is almost like winning it, so you can’t ask for much more. I just wanted to be a pair closer on him and he finishes a half-a-length closer but he went great.”

Blake Shinn (Munhamek): “The best part of his race was the last 100 (metres). He ran super. A mile will suit him down to the ground.”

Damian Lane (Dom To Shoot): “He ran well. He got working a little mid-race to take the field up to the leader. He got a little bit tired because of that but it was a good honest run.”

Mark Zahra (Nugget): “He needed the run.”

Celine Gaudray (Buffalo River): “Another honest run. We didn’t get to lead as easy as I thought I would.”

Ben Melham (Attrition): “We tried something different, but it’s not the way to ride him. He was out of his comfort zone the whole way.”

Jordan Childs (Hey Fat Cat): “He ran super. He ran as well as he could.”

Share/Bookmark