Team Hayes‘ star miler Mr Brightside has firmed into favouritism to beat Fangirl in their rematch at Flemington on Saturday in the Group 1 $3 million Champions Mile (1600m).
Earlier in the spring Chris Waller‘s brilliant Sebring mare Fangirl was too strong for Mr Brightside when easily accounting for him with a barnstorming 2.67 length victory at Randwick in the Group 1 King Charles III Stakes (1600m).
Both gallopers then went to Melbourne to contest the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) with Fangirl seventh while Mr Brightside flashed up the inside late to go down a nose to the Sha Tin star Romantic Warrior.
Earlier in the week when the diminutive but classy seven-horse field for the Kennedy Champions Mile was released it was Fangirl the punters had on top.
She has now eased out from $2.40 to $2.90 through Ladbrokes to salute from the outside alley at headquarters with ace hoop James McDonald, winner aboard Zardozi in the VRC Oaks on Thursday, booked for the ride.
Since final acceptances however the money has been steady for $10.9 million earner Mr Brightside to bounce back off his two seconds and salute at the track and trip he recently won the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) over in mid-September.
He is a 10-time winner from 15 starts at the 1600m and the latest markets have him into $2.50 to win the Champions Mile from barrier two with Craig Williams in the saddle.
A good performance to see out the Cup Carnival by Mr Brightside could have the champ pegged for a trip to Hong Kong in December according to co-trainer Ben Hayes.
“He’s an elite miler, so if we do decide to go to Hong Kong, it gives us more options,” Hayes told the media this week.
“We can stay at the mile or go to 2000 metres in Hong Kong, but we’ve got to get through this run first and see how he recovers from it.
“We haven’t committed to anything yet. He’s in the sixth run for the prep and these good horses, you do need to look after them.
“It’s something we’ll discuss with the team after the run.”
In a tight top three the other major player at single-figure Champions Mile odds is the reigning champion Alligator Blood at $3.70 from the Waterhouse/Bott stable.
The now seven-year-old son of All Too Hard has been typically excellent this campaign winning the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Might And Power (2000m) over further.
His latest run in the Cox Plate had him running a quarter-length third.
While he is down in distance here he is a dual Group 1 winner over the mile including in this race last year and cannot be discounted.
“He is a bit of a warrior … it’s great to see he is having one of his best seasons and hopefully he has got plenty more left to give,” co-trainer Adrian Bott told Racenet.
“He is going super. He came through the (Cox Plate) in great shape. Last year it worked well, dropping back to the mile. He has been very effective at the (1600m) trip.”
The Champions Mile is set to run as Race 7 at 4:30pm (AEDT) on the nine-race Flemington Stakes Day card.
2023 Champions Mile Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||5211×11122||MR BRIGHTSIDE (NZ)||Ben, Will & JD Hayes||Craig Williams||2||59kg||118|
|2||x140x42113||ALLIGATOR BLOOD||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||5||59kg||118|
|3||111113×287||THE INEVITABLE||John Keys||Damien Oliver||4||59kg||107|
|4||362598×735||BANKERS CHOICE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||John Allen||6||59kg||103|
|5||241111×739||VICTORIA ROAD (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Blake Shinn||1||58kg||109|
|6||x3227x1317||FANGIRL||Chris Waller||James McDonald||7||57kg||117|
|7||x4298x6261||PRIDE OF JENNI||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Declan Bates||3||57kg||108|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.