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Mr Brightside continues to shine with Makybe Diva win

Mr Brightside’s purple patch of form flourished even further as the rampant six-year-old notched a fifth consecutive victory by winning yesterday’s Makybe Diva Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) at Flemington. 

Racing in the presence of the great, three-time Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) winner Makybe Diva (Desert King), who was trackside at Flemington on view for her adoring fans, Mr Brightside ($1.85) loomed up on the shoulder of Alligator Blood (All Too Hard) with 300 metres to run, before stretching clear to win by a comfortable one and a half lengths. 

Osipenko (Pierro) finished third, two lengths from the winner, as the seven-horse field could only watch the Ben, Will and JD Hayes-trained Mr Brightside skip clear. 

Mr Brightside, who won his first Group 1 in last year’s Doncaster Mile (Gr 1, 1600m), won the All-Star Mile (1600m) in March before defending his Doncaster Mile crown. He returned this season with wins in the PB Lawrence Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) and last time out in the Memsie Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) before cementing his position as Australia’s dominant miler with yesterday’s victory in the Makybe Diva Stakes. 

The six-year-old son of Bullbars (Elusive Quality) took his prize-money earnings to beyond $9 million, as his race record swelled to 14 wins from 26 starts. 

“He was a superstar today,” Ben Hayes said.

“Craig [Williams] just let the race unfold and we ended up in the one-one which we thought was a possibility, followed Waller’s horse (Princess Grace) into the bend and travelled so strongly and it was quite an easy watch. It was the first time I’ve seen him with his tongue out, so he’s sticking his tongue out at them but he won well and he’s such an exciting horse, we’re so proud of him. He’s an incredible horse.

“Flemington’s the number one track in Australia and to have a horse of his quality be able to win and win like he did, albeit in a small field, I think he stamped his authority again today and he’s definitely the horse to catch now, which is very exciting for us and I hope we can enjoy the ride even more.”

Williams lost the ride on The Everest (1200m) champion Giga Kick (Scissor Kick) this week, but demonstrated his professionalism and took solace from yesterday’s fine victory. 

“Full credit to Lindsay Park, all their team, the Hayes boys, Will, his strapper, who’s got a really good handle on him and again I’d like to thank my family, my friends and my team around me because they put us into this position but that was pretty effortless,” he said.

“It was a great thrill to win a Makybe Diva Stakes in such great fashion and especially with a horse I’ve spent so much time with and part of his development, it’s very special for me.

“He’s amazing but full credit, obviously he’s an amazing product so for them (the Hayes team) to source this horse in New Zealand … no top horse is given, they’re developed and he’s a perfect example.”

Mr Brightside is out of the Tavistock (Montjeu) mare Lilahjay, who is also the dam of Will Power (Power), an eight-time winner in Hong Kong.

Mr Brightside was bred by Ray Johnson in partnership with his late wife Martha. He was sold as a yearling for NZ$22,000 via Janine Dunlop’s Phoenix Park at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka May Sale, then failed to meet his NZ$50,000 reserve when re-offered at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale.

Later, an opportunity arose for Johnson to buy him back on for just NZ$7,750, in conjunction with Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning and Shaun Dromgool.

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