Consistent Group 1 performer Side Glance wrapped up his Cox Plate preparation with a leisurely gallop at the TAB International Horse Centre in Werribee today.
Side Glance was let stroll over 1000m, quickening up over the final 400m to complete the gallop in 26 seconds, pleasing travelling foreperson Leanne Masterton in his final hit out before Saturday’s Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
“He felt great, really good, just an easy piece,” Masterton told Racing.com.
“Putting the finishing touches on him.”
Masterton, who is deputising for English trainer Andrew Balding, said that Side Glance has put back on the couple of kilos that he lost when third to Fawkner in Group 1 $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 11 and will go to Moonee Valley in prime condition.
“He feels fantastic, he lost a few kilos (after the Caulfield Stakes), put that straight back on and feels really good,” Masterton said.
“I think it will probably benefit him, having a race this year.
“He was fresh last year.”
Since winning the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during last year’s Spring Carnival when he took up the running at the 1000m, Side Glance has raced in five different countries before returning to Australia and has been placed at Group 1 level on two occasions before his last start third at Caulfield.
The eight year old was unplaced at Group 1 level in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Ascot before running third in the Group 1 US$535,000 United Nations Stakes (1 mile, 3 furlongs) at Monmouth Park, USA, on July 6 and third again in the Group 1 US$1m Arlington Million XXXII Stakes (1 mile 2 furlongs) at Arlington Park, Arlington Heights, USA on August 16.
Irish jockey Jamie Spencer has been Side Glance’s regular rider since March 2013 including the Mackinnon Stakes win but missed the ride in last year’s Cox Place when Craig Williams finished sixth to Shamus Award.
With the front running The Cleaner the ready made leader on Saturday, Masterton will be happy for Spencer to take a sit just behind the pacemaker from his middle of the field barrier seven.
“There will be pace in the race. He has probably only made the running three or four times and most of the time he has come from behind,” Masterton said.
“If he can sit handy we will be more than happy.”
Side Glance is currently rated as one of the outsiders in the Cox Plate field and is marked as a $31 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Last start Caulfield Stakes winner Fawkner is the $4.20 favourite ahead of the Chris Waller trained Sacred Falls at $6 and the Irish galloper Adelaide at $6.50.
The David Payne trained Criterion is also well in contention at $8.00 following his first class effort when second to Fawkner at Caulfield while last year’s Cox Plate runner up Happy Trails and the consistent Royal Descent share the next line of betting at $11.