Zac Purton and co-trainers Ben & JD Hayes have combined with Mr Brightside the Group 1 Doncaster Mile, after the training duo took out the 2022 edition with Craig Williams taking the reins.
It comes after taking out the All-Star Mile as well, which continues to provide punters with a strong form-line moving forward. The last two year’s we’ve seen the form stack up as the trifecta of runners in the Doncaster Mile ran in behind Zaaki in the 2022 edition, the same has happened on Saturday afternoon with Mr Brightside, My Oberon and Nugget all being set for this after the Moonee Valley feature on March 18.
With injury leaving Craig Williams sidelined for the All-Star Mile and now the Doncaster Mile, it was left to Hong Kong-leading hoop Zac Purton to take the reins and obliged in emphatic fashion for favourite backers.
Mr Brightside was hard held turning for home and kicked clear of his rivals with My Oberon leading a late surge on the post, but to no avail. Nugget and Hope In Your Heart were the best of the chasers late outside the quinella, but Mr Brightside was able to get the head down in the shadows, pushed out by Zac Purton.
2023 Group 1 Doncaster Mile Replay – Mr Brightside
An incredible story topped off by the fact the last galloper to produce back-to-back wins in the Doncaster Mile was Sacred Falls (2013,2014), the second of which was ridden by Zac Purton as well.
It’s all honours to the winner Mr Brightside who continues to defy the handicapper and secure victory in this time-honoured race.
Both Ben & JD Hayes spoke to the media post-race was overjoyed with the result from their main stable flagbearer Mr Brightside.
“Last year for Ben and I and the team at Lindsay Park,” said JD Hayes.
“What this horse did to win it and then go back-to-back it puts him in rare air. He’s a very special horse, we’ve known it all along, but he’s now a very special horse in his own right doing something like that.
“Couldn’t be happier.”
“A special horse we’ll never forget him but he’s got so much to go which is exciting,” said Ben Hayes.
“He’s only turning six. We actually weren’t sure he’d won, we were holding our breath.
“What a ride by Zac (Purton) ten out of ten. Congratulations to everyone at the farm, it’s a team effort to get it done. Just so excited.”
Zac Purton spoke post-race about the relationship he’s built with Ben & JD Hayes’ father David both here and since the trainer has been involved in the Hong Kong racing scene.
“Obviously the connection I have with David (Hayes – father of co-trainers Ben and JD Hayes) in Hong Kong and getting to know his boys and having a bit of a drink and a laugh about this horse in this race a few weeks back,” joked Purton.
“I won’t tell you what was said. We just drew the perfect gate and had the perfect run. It’s not easy to win one Doncaster, it’s very hard to win two, especially on testing ground like this. All the credit has got to go to the stable.”