Mr Brightside ($2.70) has secured victory in an outstanding edition of the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday, as Ben, JD and Will Hayes have combined to take home their first Group 1 win as a training trio.
With powerhouse duo I Wish I Win ($4.60) and Alligator Blood ($5.50) returning from a spell to kick-off their spring campaigns, Mr Brightside got a much-needed fitness advantage on his key rivals with a first-up win in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), and it may well have been the winning factor in the race.
Craig Williams pinged the lids and travelled across the face of the field but landed in a three-wide position throughout the journey, leaving the two-time Doncaster Mile winner stranded for the majority of the race.
There was never any panic from the classy jockey, however, as he knew the motor he had underneath him was a powerful six-year-old gelding.
2023 Group 1 Memsie Stakes Replay – Mr Brightside
Mr Brightside toughed out a gritty finish in the end though, and team Hayes couldn't have been happy speaking about their flagbearer for the stable.
“I think we're all pinching ourselves,” said Ben Hayes.
“Will's first Group 1 win which is absolutely amazing.
“We've really worked hard and to get the results like this with a special horse like Mr Brightside is incredible.
JD Hayes then spoke.
“I thought it was a great ride – though when I Wish I Win peeled off his back and was there to go past him, I'm glad we had the run under our belt.
“He's just shown his fighting qualities and why he's a star.”
Will Hayes then spoke.
“So indebted to my brothers and my families to give me an opportunity.
“This is pretty unbelievable.”
Craig Williams was confident Mr Brightside would injure the tough three-wide journey and spoke to the quality of his mount in the home straight.
“I felt it's not going to be a disadvantage for him if he sits a bit wider rather than having the rail,” said Williams.
“The horse rewarded me with the decision I made and he's really tough, and that's a very good race.
“He loves to stick his head out, he had no favours – I love the way he felt like he was always going to hold them.
“The boys are comfortable we'll come on from today's run.”