‘No one knows him better’: Hayes laments Williams’ fall on eve of All-Star Mile

Mr Brightside’s trainer JD Hayes concedes the loss of injured star Craig Williams has dented his horse’s chances of winning Saturday’s $5 million All-Star Mile.

The Melbourne Cup-winning jockey went into the Epworth Hospital for surgery on Tuesday after suffering a fractured clavicle and finger and two broken ribs in a horrific fall at Flemington on Saturday.

Craig Williams will miss the ride on Mr Brightside after fracturing his clavicle in a fall last Saturday.Credit:Racing Photos

Williams was booked to ride Mr Brightside in Saturday’s Moonee Valley feature, but has been replaced by Luke Currie, who will return from Hong Kong to take the prized ride.

But JD Hayes said Williams had been a key part of Mr Brightside’s success to date.

“He’s ridden 19 consecutive races on Mr Brightside, no one knows him better,” Hayes said of Williams.

“Thoughts are with Craig, that he’s going to be having a speedy recovery.

“But very happy to be legging up Luke Currie. He’s riding over in Hong Kong against the world’s best and I think he’ll be able to do a more than capable job.”

Mr Brightside drew barrier two on Tuesday, after stablemate So Si Bon was announced as the final runner in the field of 15, replacing I Wish I Win, who was withdrawn following his placing in Saturday’s Newmarket Handicap.

Lindsay Park will have three runners in the race, with Gentleman Roy also lining up from barrier 10.

“Three of 15 is hopefully a good chance of getting one across the line,” Hayes said.

“It’s a huge event; $5 million on offer. It’s one of those races you have to campaign to get your horses in. Lucky enough we’ve got Gentleman Roy, Mr Brightside and So Si Bon, who all have a public following for their own reasons.

Trainers Ben Hayes and JD Hayes last month celebrated a Blue Diamond victory.Credit:Getty Images

“Mr Brightside himself is a very successful racehorse on the rise up. Gentleman Roy wins over racing people’s hearts because he’s just so hard and tough and makes every post a winner. And So Si Bon has been going around since the dawn of time and you’d love to have a stable full of him.”

Despite the last-minute jockey change, Hayes said Mr Brightside was their No.1 seed.

“Our best chance is probably Mr Brightside. We’ve been waiting for him to draw a nice barrier, and he has here, so hopefully the stars are aligning, and he gets a nice run in transit,” he said.

“We decided to peak him for this race, this is the one we’ve got our circle around with the $5 million on offer, so I believe we’ve got him into the race as well as we could have him. A little bit of luck in transit would be nice, and hopefully, he can do us proud.”

Alligator Blood is expected to hunt for the lead from barrier seven, while I’m Thunderstruck has drawn nicely in barrier five. Daniel Moor will ride I’m Thunderstruck, covering for Jamie Kah who was also involved in Saturday’s fall.

Up to 18 horses knocked back the last-minute opportunity to take up a spot in the All-Star Mile field, with So Si Bon ranked 19th in the provisional emergency list late last week.

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