Ben Hayes (Image: Racing Photos)
Ben Hayes, his brothers JD and Will and his father David and mother Prue found out the hard way that losing a Cox Plate in a tight photo is not the most bitter pill of all to swallow.
Instead, it’s thinking you’ve won before seeing another horse’s number goes up in the frame.
“It was devastating for us as we thought we’d won,” Ben Hayes said moments after the race. “We all thought we’d won, so then we find out we lost.
“It was tough. Hard to process for a while.”
He was speaking just minutes after the race where Mr Brightside and Hong Kong champion Romantic Warrior hit the line in unison, but already the shock and disappointment of such a narrow loss in such a great race had started to dissipate.
“There are no regrets,” Ben Hayes said. “He put in his absolute best. We wouldn’t change anything.
“It was a great ride. Everything went right and we were just beaten by a better horse.
“Our horse had every opportunity. Craig (Williams) rode him 10 out of 10. We just got beaten on the line by a champion.”
Ben Hayes finished the interview with a perfect teaser for what still may lay ahead this year at Flemington over the next few weeks in either the Champion Stakes (2000m) or Champion Mile (1600m) and at the International meeting in Hong Kong in December.
“We are going run by run; if he’s good and happy we’ll head in that direction,” he said. “If not, we just target the autumn.
“We might have to go over there and beat him (Romantic Warrior) by a nose.”
WATCH: Romantic Warrior's gutsy Cox Plate Win at The Valley