European galloper Side Glance is set to contest the 2014 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on Saturday and connections believe that the Group 1 winner has taken plenty of improvement from his tough third in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11.
Side Glance went into the 2013 edition of the Cox Plate without a lead-up run in Australia and his overraced in the early stages of the race to finish sixth before he took out the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington a week later.
This year, trainer Andrew Balding elected to run Side Glance in the Caulfield Stakes in the lead-up to the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and travelling foreperson Leanne Masterton told TVN that she believes the first-up run will help the Passing Glance gelding settle in the early stages of the race.
“Having that run in the Caulfield Stakes was a real benefit for him,” Masterton said.
“He’s not going to be as ‘gassy’ as he was last year.
“Last year there was a bit of a gap between the Arlington Millions and the Cox Plate and that run in the Caulfield Stakes will definitely help him.
“He’s a more relaxed horse, you saw that in the Caulfield Stakes, his ears were going.”
Side Glance took up the running in the early stages of the Caulfield Stakes, but Masterton said that she will be happy for jockey Jamie Spencer to take a sit behind likely leader The Cleaner in the Cox Plate and she expects the expected quick early tempo from the popular Tasmanian galloper will enhance the winning chances of Side Glance.
“Not having that stop-start tempo will help him as he doesn’t have that turn of foot of some of the others,” Masterton said.
“Coming off a slow pace is going to be pretty hard for him.”
A number of horses that are set to be included in the 2014 Cox Plate field are set to take part in Breakfast With The Best at Moonee Valley tomorrow morning, but Side Glance will not be joining his rivals and will instead be given his final lead-up gallop on Wednesday morning.
Side Glance is currently available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $26 with Ladbrokes Australia, while Fawkner ($4) remains favourite from Adelaide ($5.50), Sacred Falls ($6) and Criterion ($8).