The well-travelled Side Glance is being overlooked in the Cox Plate but the person closest to him in Australia believes he is poised to run better than his odds suggest.
The Andrew Balding-trained Side Glance finished sixth in last year’s Cox Plate in his introduction to Australian racing and backed up to win the Mackinnon Stakes.
This time Side Glance goes to Saturday’s Cox Plate at the second start of his Australian campaign and Balding’s travelling assistant Leanne Masterton expects that can make a difference in the $3 million race.
“His form is so consistent and has been regularly placed in Group Ones for the past two years,” Masterton said, when asked if Side Glance was a forgotton horse in the Cox Plate.
“I think he’s certainly worth an each-way (ticket).”
Side Glance was third to Cox Plate favourite Fawkner and Criterion in the Caulfield Stakes but he is a $31 chance on Saturday.
The eight-year-old will be out to add to owner Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s previous Group One spring carnival wins with Dunaden and well as Side Glance’s Mackinnon win a year ago.
“I think it’s probably benefitted him having a race first this year,” Masterton said.
“He was a bit fresh last year (in the Cox Plate), so he feels fantastic.
“He lost a few kilos (in the Caulfield Stakes) but put that straight back on and he feels really good.”
Side Glance galloped at Werribee on Wednesday morning, pleasing Masterton, and will be ridden in the Cox Plate by his regular jockey Jamie Spencer.
“He’s a horse you have to know because he’s quite strong and can be a bit keen,” Masterton said.
“Jamie settles him really well.”
Side Glance led in the Caulfield Stakes but appears likely to take a trail with The Cleaner in the race.
Masterton believes a switch in racing pattern could suit Side Glance.
Another of the internationals, Guest Of Honour from the Marco Botti stable, is the $61 outsider after finishing unplaced in the Toorak Handicap.
Botti’s travelling foreman Paul Francis said he had tightened up since that run and wouldn’t discount the Group Two winner although the horse is unproven at the trip.
“We’re going into the unknown. But I think it’s worth a shot,” Francis said.