English jockey Jamie Spencer stole the show at Flemington with a well-judged front running ride to claim the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on northern hemisphere seven year old Side Glance.
Spencer let Side Glance ($12) slide to the front at the 1400m when the pace slackened and was holding the weight for age field on the line to score by three quarters of a lengths from Dear Demi ($11) and Moriarty ($17).
English trainer Andrew Badling went against tradition by backing up Side Glance in the week after running a fair race when sixth to Shamus Award in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
“He hadn’t run for a while. The concerned was running soon after, we don’t do that in Europe,” Balding said.
“It was a great thrill. A big thank you for the team, I haven’t seen the horse for a month.”
Balding also gave Spencer a big wrap after he took control of the race in the middle stages.
“Jimmy has always got on well with the horse. He gave him a beautiful ride and there was no gallop mid-way through the race and he took the bull by the horns and done everything right. I’m thrilled for him,” Balding said.
Runner-up Dear Demi ran a great Melbourne Cup trial poking up along the fence and will be spot on heading into the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
The Clarry Connors trained Dear Demi has firmed dramatically from $34 to $14 with top jockey Chris Munce to the ride the mare again on Tuesday.
The David Hayes trained Jet Away ($3 favourite) was the disappointing runner of the Mackinnon Stakes and after travelling in fourth and fifth spot throughout the race struggled in the straight to wind up in sixth spot.