Connections of 2011 Melbourne Cup winner and last year’s Caulfield Cup champ Dunaden are eying the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival’s third major with this season’s Cox Plate a possible target for the Andrew Balding-trained European Side Glance.
The six-year-old Passing Glance gelding is owned by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Pearl Bloodstock racing operation which made headlines down under over the past two years thanks to the feats achieved by their French-trained hero Dunaden.
Now Sheikh Fahad is also a chance of completing a hat-trick of spring classics with the $3 million Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecoruse on October 26 calling for Side Glance.
The galloper was nominated for the lucrative weight-for-age showdown this week, their Kingsclere-based trainer Balding saying there were a few suitable races down under they had been looking at.
“He’s in the Cox Plate, but there are one or two other races out there to look at during the Spring Carnival,” Balding, who prepared the last place-getter Parca in the 2003 Cox Plate, told Racing Victoria this week.
A winner of seven of their 25 career starts to date Side Glance hasn’t been in the winner’s stall since June last year when they took out the Group 3 Diomed Stakes (1713m) at Epsom Downs.
They did however run third that campaign to the since retired superstar Frankel when the world’s highest-rated racehorse took out the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1609m) during the Royal Ascot carnival.
Things have been a bit hit and miss for them this year though.
Side Glance was taken to Dubai in March for a two run campaign.
They finished fourth in both the Group 1 Jebel Hatta (1800m) to Sajjhaa and the Group 1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) to Animal Kingdom, beaten two and a half and seven lengths respectively.
Their latest run was also disappointing when they returned to Ascot for a shot at the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2011m) eventually finishing seven lengths away seventh to Al Kazeem in June.
Balding and connections are now hoping for a form return from them when they next race in the USA in the Arlington Million (2000m) on August 17, after which a decision on Australia will be made.
“He’s in great shape and he flies out to America on Saturday – I couldn’t be happier with him,” Balding said.
“We’ll see how he gets on in Arlington, but we’re giving very serious consideration to going out to Australia later on in the year.”
In the Cox Plate betting markets updated this week after the taking of nominations, Side Glance is rated a $51 chance with odds led by crack Kiwi It’s A Dundeel.