Polanski wins Victoria Derby
Watch highlights from Derby Day's major races including Robbie Laing-trained Polanski's emphatic, three-length victory in the Victoria Derby.PT1M30S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2wt8o 620 349 November 2, 2013
Sheikh Fahad al Thani warmed up for the Melbourne Cup in the best possible fashion as Side Glance, flown half way around the world for the Cox Plate, picked up a group 1 consolation in the Mackinnon Stakes.
After Side Glance reefed throughout and never settled in Australasia's weight-for-age championship, the Qatari royal and English trainer Andrew Balding opted to back up the home-bred.
The decision was rewarded handsomely as an opportunistic ride from Jamie Spencer delivered Side Glance ($12) his first major from an unlucky Dear Demi ($11) and Moriarty ($17).
Without a backward glance: Jamie Spencer rides Side Glance to victory on Saturday. Photo: Pat Scala
''All that rubbish about the horse shouldn't be here and running in group 1s, he came out and proved them all wrong today,'' the sheikh said.
His colours will again be proudly on display at Flemington when 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden tries to break a 75-year drought for eight-year-olds on Tuesday.
Dear Demi produced a slashing Cup trial, held up along the inside before motoring home to finish three-quarters of a length off Side Glance. Bookmakers immediately responded, with TAB.com.au trimming Clarry Conners' mare from $23 to $16 to win the Cup.
Derby Day Racing at Flemington
Derby Day Flemington , Race 1 won by Paximadia ridden by Kerrin McEvoy Photo: Pat Scala
''That was a beautiful run for the Melbourne Cup,'' Dear Demi's jockey Chris Munce said.
''She's got to run the two miles, but they've all got to do that. She was very strong through the line. We didn't have much luck in the straight, but when she got into the clear she really hit the line.''
Chris Waller's Moriarty made ground down the outside to finish third, but Waller was more enthusiastic about his Melbourne Cup aspirations in 2014. ''It's next year's horse,'' Waller said. ''We'll wait until then and I can see it being in races like The BMW on that run.''
Spencer seized the initiative on Side Glance at the 1400m mark, sliding around the field to assume the lead from Solzhenitsyn and Nash Rawiller, who had dropped anchor.
Once he found the front, Side Glance, under furious riding from Spencer, fought off all challengers despite yielding some ground in the last 100m.
''Jamie's always got on well with the horse,'' Balding said. ''I was just thrilled he could ride him today and he gave him a beautiful ride.
''There was no gallop [pace on] midway through the race and he took the bull by the horns and did everything right. My concern was running so soon [after the Cox Plate]. We're not used to it in Europe, but it obviously did the job just to switch him off a little bit.''
The carnival-closing Emirates Stakes was Side Glance's intended consolation, but Spencer did a perfect job of settling the horse over the 2000m Mackinnon trip.
''We planned to take the lead and the race was very slow, so I tried to let him prick his ears in front and it was a good result in the end,'' Spencer said. ''[Sheikh Fahad's] a brilliant boss.'' He will be an even better boss if Spencer can steer Dunaden to his second Cup win.
Favourite Jet Away ($3) finished sixth, dashing hopes of forcing his way into the Cup field.