Mr Brightside has had to call on all his fighting qualities to land victory in the first Group 1 race of the autumn at Caulfield.

The CF Orr Stakes (1400m) was turned into a war of attrition with the weight-for-age race run at a savage tempo.

Mr Brightside had been slow into stride but quickly recovered his lost ground to settle midfield, but a good six lengths off Pride Of Jenni who led the way over Buffalo River.

The Lindsay Park-trained galloper, who is the pride of the stable run by Ben, Will and JD Hayes, was still spotting the leaders a healthy start into the straight.

But the gelding's never-say-die attitude would not let him be beaten and under the urgings of Craig Williams, the $1.95 favourite wore down Pride Of Jenni ($9) to score a short half-head victory with Buffalo River ($61) a head away third.

JD Hayes said Mr Brightside was a great horse for the young trainers who operate one of Australia's best-known stables as the gelding collected a fifth Group 1 win.

"Hopefully it's the start of a big autumn," Hayes said.

"He's been beaten in the autumn first-up every time, so this is a first for him.

"He's a seasoned campaigner now and there was nothing to read into the trials and jump-outs.

"We thought it was nothing for him just being an older horse."

Hayes said Mr Brightside would return to Caulfield for the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on February 24 before heading to the All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield on March 16 and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington two weeks later.

"It's looking that way, so hopefully he keeps ticking the boxes," Hayes said.

Williams said getting Mr Brightside to the post had been hard work.

He noted Mr Brightside usually starts off his preparations in an unmannerly mood.

"He's a little bit cheeky, a bit full of himself because he's got improvement and today, he got to the start and reared," Williams said.

"We were lucky enough to get from a nice barrier into a nice position.

"I think he summed up my approach to riding a horse as good as he is, so that part was never a worry, it was only when we came under pressure, and he wasn't travelling, I went 'oh wow'.

"He was ready to come to the races, to compete and to win but he's still got more to come, there's more improvement.

"It was a brutal tactic by the second or third horse and it nearly got us all out of our comfort zone, but he's just got a great tenacity, a great will to win and I can't wait to give him another pat now."