Craig Williams admits that he is having trouble comparing the 2013 Cox Plate form; with his mount Side Glance yet to make his racing debut in Australia.
Side Glance has performed fairly all around the world in the past twelve months, finishing fourth in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta (1800m) and Group 1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) before finishing seventh in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2011m) during the Royal Ascot meeting and third in the Group 1 Arlington Million Stakes (2011m) in the United States.
Williams knows that Side Glance has the edge on Mull Of Killough, who finished eighth in the Arlington Million Stakes, but is unsure how the son of Passing Glance stacks up against the Cox Plate form of leading locally-trained contenders It’s A Dundeel, Fiorente and Puissance De Lune.
“He’ll run a good race but whether or not European horses with his form can win a Cox Plate; we’ll find out on Saturday,” Williams told News Limited.
“There hasn’t been many horses that have come from Europe and competed in the Cox Plate so it’s quite hard to get a handle on his form.
“He’s run in 13 Group races and eight of them have been at Group 1 level so he’s obviously that level of horse.”
Williams has had plenty of success with European-trained horses in other major races on the Australian racing calendar, having won the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) with Dunaden and finished a narrow second behind Fawkner on Dandino in last Saturday’s Caulfield Cup, but said he believes the Cox Plate is a different style of race to the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.
“We know where they sit in regards to our handicap staying races, the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, but the Cox Plate is quiet a unique race on the Australian racing calendar and I guess from now on anyone that wants to target the race can get a better understanding after the two European horses compete on Saturday,” Williams said.
Side Glance has recorded seven wins from 25 career starts but has never tasted success at Group 1 level or in a race over 1800 metres, while no Cox Plate winner in the last thirty years has won the event without previously racing in October.
Williams is chasing his third victory in the Cox Plate after previously winning the race with Fields Of Omagh (2006) and Pinker Pinker (2011).