Hayes Adamant Brightside Can Rebound In Queen Elizabeth

By Ray Hickson

Trainer Ben Hayes says the likely conditions at Randwick on Saturday will give Mr Brightside every opportunity to make a lie of a rare last start failure and prove once and for all he can win over 2000m.

Ben Hayes (Pic: Bradley Photos)

It’s been around 12 months since the six-year-old, a dual Doncaster Mile winner, has struck a track with reasonable cushion in it and Hayes said he’s looking forward to the Group 1 $5m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) being run on forgiving ground.

He feels two factors contributed to Mr Brightside finishing fifth behind Cascadian in the Australian Cup – the firm ground and being the cart horse chasing front runner Pride Of Jenni – so he takes heart that the gelding can bounce back.

“It still wasn’t a bad run,’’ Hayes said.

“He had to bring the field up to Pride Of Jenni and the way she runs her races she makes it a real staying 2000m.

“We probably had him that little bit close, he did a lot of work, but he ended up only being beaten four lengths.

“We know he doesn’t enjoy those really firm tracks, unfortunately that day it dried out and was a good 3. He just felt the track a bit.

“We monitored him, had a good chat to the whole team and the way he’s come out of it there’s no problems. You can’t just give up off one run.”

Mr Brightside, $11 with TAB after drawing the outside gate on Tuesday, has raced three times at Randwick for his two Doncaster wins and a second to Fangirl in the King Charles III last spring.

He’s been to 2000m four times with last year’s Cox Plate second his best result and Hayes, who co-trains with brothers Will and JD, feels the outside draw could play in his favour this time around.

With Pride Of Jenni again among his rivals in the Queen Elizabeth, Hayes said at least there will be tempo on again and hopes he can be the one to launch at the finish this time.

“He won a Doncaster from a wide draw, his first one, we’ll just let him balance and we’ll see him hit the line really strong,’’ he said.

“I still believe 2000m isn’t an issue and it’s unfortunate we ran into a horse that’s got Vo Rogue tactics that takes away our asset which is the turn of foot.

“It’s a race full of quality, there’s a couple of new horses he hasn’t raced against that I’m sure he can get on the back of and bring him into the race.

“We know how the race is going to be run, we tried different tactics in the Australian Cup, had him a bit closer, and it didn’t work. We’ll let him balance and have him hit the line.”

Stayer Loft backs up in the Group 1 $2 million Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) from what Hayes says was an encouraging performance in the Chairman’s Quality last week.

The six-year-old is still in his first campaign since a tendon injury that saw him off the scene for almost 18 months and his sixth placing behind Circle Of Fire saw him finish his race off for the first time.

“He’s come through last week’s run well,’’ Hayes said.

“It was his best run since arriving in Australia, he’s a horse that does need to improve but I think the back-up might suit him.

“He’s coming back from a bowed tendon and he needs to get his confidence up. Hopefully we’ll see a big improvement. “

Loft, to be ridden by Blake Shinn, drew barrier seven and has two wins from as many starts over the 3200m – both Group 2 events at Hoppegarten in Germany and Belmont in the USA in mid-2022.