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Side Glance has recovered from his Cox Plate fourth better than his trainer expected and will defend his Mackinnon Stakes title.

Andrew Balding was hesitant about the quick back-up in the Mackinnon after Saturday’s Cox Plate but has been pleasantly surprised by Side Glance’s condition.

After running sixth in last year’s Cox Plate, Side Glance went on to lead throughout in the Mackinnon Stakes over 2000m.

“I think he came out of the Cox Plate better this year, even though he had a harder race than last year,” Balding said.

The original Melbourne for Side Glance was the Caulfield Stakes – in which he finished third – and Saturday’s Mackinnon Stakes.

But after his good third behind Fawkner at Caulfield and with added fitness, the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley became a target and he finished just half a length from the winner Adelaide.

Balding was at Werribee on Tuesday to cast his eye over Side Glance and said he could not see any reason why the gelding should not line up on Saturday.

He also said the flatter Flemington circuit would be a plus.

Balding will also saddle up Lord Van Percy in the Lexus Stakes (2500m) with the gelding trying to earn a ballot free berth into the Melbourne Cup.

The trainer said the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup around Flemington would be ideal but whether Lord Van Percy could back up three days after the Lexus was an unknown.

Balding said it was not the usual practice of European trainers to back horses up so quickly, but said Lord Van Percy may be one that could.

“We wouldn’t do that back home but he’s not a typical stayer,” Balding said.

“He’s a closer coupled horse, so those smaller horses recover quicker which gives us half a chance if he happens to win the Lexus.”

 
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