With a well-stamped passport since his last visit, Side Glance makes his return to Melbourne in the Group One Caulfield Stakes on Saturday.
Trained in the UK by Andrew Balding, Side Glance has raced on home soil just once since his win in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day last year.
Since then he has competed in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and the US while earlier in his career he also raced in Canada.
Leanne Masterton, travelling foreperson for Balding, said Side Glance was in contention for a start in the Cox Plate on October 25 after running in Saturday’s 2000m contest at Caulfield.
Side Glance finished sixth in last year’s Cox Plate before taking out the Mackinnon Stakes under Jamie Spencer who flies in to take the mount on Saturday.
“It doesn’t look a particularly strong race,” Masterton said of the Cox Plate.
“There is no stand-out horse this year so if it really cut up, perhaps we could go there, but I think they are looking at the Mackinnon at the moment.
“He was a little bit gassy in the Cox Plate last year. We just thought this year we would give him a run first and then he’ll either run in the Mackinnon or the Cox Plate.”
Masterton said Side Glance was “back in his old hunting ground” and loving life at Werribee as he completed quarantine.
The gelding has also returned in excellent form.
“He’s heavier this time than he was last year,” Masterton said. “He’s fit and has held his condition.
“He ran third in the Arlington Million last year and ran third this year. He ran third in the United Nations at Monmouth, fourth in the Dubai World Cup and his only bad run was at Royal Ascot, as it was last year.
“He’s happy, he’s fresh and he loves Werribee. The horse is so relaxed here.”
With Side Glance set to contest the Caulfield Stakes, stablemate Lord Van Percy makes his Australian debut in the Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) and a victory could prompt connections to back-up in Saturday week’s Caulfield Cup.
A member of OTI Racing, Lord Van Percy was successful at Glorious Goodwood before running second behind Caulfield Cup contender Mutual Regard in the Ebor at York on August 23.
“It’s his first time flying,” Masterton said.
“He ate and drank everything I put in front of him on the flight and since he’s been here he’s not been a problem whatsoever.”