A couple of days ago the major interest in the English galloper Side Glance was whether he would beat the ambulance home in Saturday’s Cox Plate.
Then came the scratching of the hot favourite Atlantic Jewel and on Wednesday Side Glance had a vital appointment with his rider Craig Williams and without doing much at all he’s become as a sneaky each-way chance.
Williams, a Cox Plate winner on Fields Of Omagh and two years ago on the outsider Pinker Pinker, isn’t going overboard about Side Glance’s chances, but after their bonding session at Werribee he’s not unhappy to be riding the seven-year-old.
“It was really important to come down this morning and spend some time with him,” Williams said.
Already he knew Side Glance could be a headstrong horse who needed careful handling, but after their latest workout, he’s confident that problem can be solved.
“I knew he could take a really strong hold,” Williams said.
“This morning he was no different, he was quite aggressive in his first lap but in his canter I was able to get a better understanding of him.
“I think this morning was very important going into Saturday.”
The other bonus for horse and rider is the barrier. Side Glance has barrier one and Williams says it could be a great asset.
“From barrier one he can land where he’s comfortable. He either gets cover where he lands or you can push him , but if he drew a wider gate he could get too keen,” Williams said.
“So I’m delighted to have barrier one.
“He’ll run a good race, that’s for sure.”
Williams’ assessments had the backing of Side Glance’s stand-in trainer Anna Lisa Balding, the wife of trainer Andrew Balding who stressed the need for the horse’s rider to have a good understanding of him.
“Craig needed a bit of practice and he did a great job this morning,” Balding said.
Side Glance, who finished third in this year’s Dubai World Cup, is owned by Sheikh Fahad al Thani who has had tremendous success in Australia winning the Melbourne, Caulfield and Geelong Cups with Dunaden.