Mr Brightside (-125) has continued his dominance in the spring with a stunning performance to win the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Craig Williams produced an elite steer from barrier two, allowing the short-priced favourite to drop his head in the one-one position throughout the 1600m weight-for-age feature.
Meanwhile, it was left to Damien Oliver aboard Alligator Blood (+260) to dictate terms up on-speed with Princess Grace (+450) travelling up to sit outside the lead.
They only went at a moderate clip allowing Alligator Blood to give a kick turning into the Flemington straight; however, Craig Williams was hot on the heels of the ‘gator, going straight past the five-time Group 1 winner to secure a dominant victory.
Osipenko (+1300) put in a much-improved effort, while Francesco Guardi looks on track for further the Cups races later down the line.
2023 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes Replay – Mr Brightside | T: Ben, Will & JD Hayes | J: Craig Williams
Mr Brightside was simply sensational though and according to co-trainer Ben Hayes the King Charles III Stakes (1600m) could be the next target for the six-year-old gelding, then perhaps even a Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) tilt.
“He was a superstar today,” said Hayes.
“Craig (Williams) just let the race unfold, ended up in the one-one which we thought was a possibility. He followed Waller’s horse (Princess Grace) into the bend and travelled so strongly. It was quite an easy look.
“He won well and we’re so proud of him, he’s an incredible horse.
“Flemington is the number one track in Australia and to have a horse of his quality able to win, albeit a small field, I think he really stamped his authority today.
“We’ll see how he pulls up, but at this stage we’re leaning towards Sydney – I think (The King Charles) is a good race to head too, then two weeks into the Cox Plate.”
It’s been a tough 24-hours for Craig Williams after losing the ride on Giga Kick in The Everest (1200m) and couldn’t hide the emotion in the aftermath of his win aboard Mr Brightside.
“I feel on top of the world,” said Williams.
“I feel really fortunate to be a part of this horses’ journey and development.
“It’s very very special. I’m very lucky.
“I’m really grateful, I really enjoy this horse, his progression, and today I’d say if a jockey could ever give back a ridding fee cause the ride was that easy, than that was probably one of those days in a Group 1 race.
“He’s a real serious horse, that’s really well managed.
“I’m just lucky to jump on him on race-day.”