Mr Brightside has continued his purple patch of form for Lindsay Park trainers Ben & JD Hayes saluting at Moonee Valley in a thrilling fifth edition of the $5 million The All-Star Mile (1600m).
Fourth in the race at Flemington behind Zaaki last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, the now five-year-old son of Bullbars has gone from strength-to-strength since winning a number of races including Sydney’s Doncaster Mile with the lightweight in 2022.
This campaign he has returned a bigger and fitter galloper, which he proved in The All-Star Mile results improving on a lead-up second in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) to win third-up at The Valley.
Jockey Craig Williams had done all the hard yards on the progressive weight-for-age star before missing out on the feature victory recovering from shoulder surgery after his Flemington fall in the Group 2 VRC Sires’.
The lucky hoop to replace Williams in the saddle of the All-Star Mile winner was the Hong Kong-based Luke Currie who came back to Melbourne and stole the show with a perfectly-timed ride.
“I’m still pinching myself. It’s just a huge thrill,” co-trainer JD Hayes told Racing.com.
“This horse is just a beautiful animal. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he tries so hard.
“It was a 10/10 ride by Luke Currie and condolences go out to Craig, he put so much work into him, we had him right on the right day and unfortunately one thing went the other way with a fall but it was a 10/10 steer from Luke.
“We really did feel he had improve from last preparation which he had to to win a race like this.
“He seemed to just go from a boy to a man. He’s really cemented himself in the senior side I reckon.
“That improvement that you’ve seen for him to come out and beat the likes of Alligator Blood, they’re very hard horses to get past and he found a way today.”
Currie used the good gate and had Mr Brightside saving ground settled off the hot pace set by the fast front-runner Keats before making his move down the outside on the straight.
Having relaxed well the early stages the horse was huge late storming home to post a half-length win over James Cummings‘ veteran miler Cascadian ($21) in a nearly track record time of 1 minute 34.47 seconds.
“My horse geez when he corned, I knew he was in for the fight and he was too strong today,” Currie said.
“It’s nice to come here and be able to pick off a big winner for the Hayes’ boys.”
Racing up into a career highlight third was then Scott Brunton‘s ultra-consistent cult galloper from Tasmanian, The Inevitable ($19), who was in Melbourne off six straight wins down in the Apple Isle.
Up next for Mr Brightside is a potential title defence in Randwick’s Group 1 $4 million Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 1.
The reining champ is at $9 to go back-to-back in the event in all-in Doncaster Mile betting at Ladbrokes.