Mr Brightside adds Futurity to stunning season

Mr Brightside - Group 1 Futurity Stakes 2024
Mr Brightside brought up his sixth Group 1 with an impressive win in the Futurity Stakes at Caulfield. Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

Megastar Mr Brightside added a sixth Group 1 trophy to his collection with another breath-taking performance in Saturday’s A$750,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Four of those six Group 1 triumphs have come this season alone, where the New Zealand-bred’s eight starts as a six-year-old have produced five brilliant wins and three second placings.

After kicking off his season with wins in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), Mr Brightside was runner-up behind Fangirl in the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m), a desperately close second to Romantic Warrior in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), and second behind Pride Of Jenni in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m).

Mr Brightside returned to action with a stunning performance to get up off the canvas and win the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 10, and he lined up over the same course and distance on Saturday and showed his champion qualities yet again.

With his regular partner Craig Williams again in the saddle, Mr Brightside took up a position in fifth as Buffalo River threw down the gauntlet and opened up a huge lead through the middle stages of the race.

Buffalo River was still well clear coming around the home turn, but Williams brought Mr Brightside out into clear air and let him rip. He swept past Buffalo River with 150m remaining and powered clear to win by a length and a half.

“You can call him a champion now without using that word too loosely,” Williams said.

“He’s an amazing thoroughbred. He just keeps getting the job done at the top level.

“I’ve got so much faith and confidence in him, and it’s easy to have that confidence when you see his record and know what he can do.

“We’re all putting Mr Brightside under pressure, but he’s just an amazing horse. He’s a great athlete, a winner and a pleasure to ride.

“When he’s that good, you just naturally have that confidence in him and the people around him. He’s phenomenal.

“I think this performance was better than the Orr, which was a gruelling race. He was more dominant today.

“I’m just very grateful. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of this horse’s development, and we’re all reaping the rewards from the hard work that he does.

“How can you knock him? He’s feared by his rivals. I guess I feel a bit like Max Verstappen, just jumping on him and spinning him around the track.

“A lot of people are getting behind Mr Brightside now, and even opposition trainers were wishing me good luck today, because they like to see good horses go around. So, Mr Brightside, you’re a champion.”

Mr Brightside has now earned more than $12 million in a career that continues to astonish his trainers, Lindsay Park’s Ben, Will and JD Hayes.

“He’s well and truly in the realm of the word ‘champion’ now,” Will Hayes said.

“It’s so humbling every time we’re the ones that get to put a saddle on him, because when he can come out and run these sorts of races, you’re just gobsmacked every time.

“Kudos to Celine Gaudray on Buffalo River – those were great tactics that made everyone think. I’d love to hear what Craig was thinking during that part of the race.

“For this horse to be able to absorb such high mid-race pressure, kick off and then run such a strong final 200m is just champion quality. It’s awesome.”

Mr Brightside will get the opportunity to boost his earnings even more in the $4 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield on March 16, for which he is now a $2.20 favourite.

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