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Masterton Takes Sideways Glance at Dubai World Cup Victory

Side Glance (GB)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Andrew Balding’s Mackinnon Stakes Star is Flourishing Ahead of US$10m Run

Side Glance has taken Leanne Masterton to extraordinary highs in recent months and Andrew Balding’s British runner aims to cap those achievements with victory in this Saturday’s Dubai World Cup.

Masterton has been grafting hard at Balding’s Kingsclere stables for 18 years but it is only recent events in which her dedication, loyalty and enthusiasm have been richly rewarded.

Having started travelling horses internationally in 2005, Masterton has been catapulted into the spotlight thanks to the exploits of Side Glance, who defied his doubters to finish fourth behind Animal Kingdom in last year’s Dubai World Cup.

That run was of no great surprise given he had been knocking heads with the almighty Frankel during his reign, but it was Side Glance’s success on Derby Day at Flemington in Australia last November which really marked his coming of age.

Under an imperious ride from Jamie Spencer, the seven-year-old blew away the local opposition to land the Grade 1 Mackinnon Stakes having been expertly handled on the journey across the world by Masterton.

“The last few months have been so exciting and Australia was amazing. It was unbelievable to see him win a Group 1 and it was all the more special as he was bred by Andrew’s mother, Emma, at Kingsclere,” said Balding’s travelling head girl.

“We have been more than happy with his preparation for the Dubai World Cup and he seems really well. He ran so well last year and I have got my fingers crossed he makes a place again.”

Spencer, as retained jockey to owner Pearl Bloodstock, was again in the plate as Side Glance made his reappearance in Dubai a little over two weeks ago when finishing a close seventh in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 sponsored by Emirates.

“He ran on Super Saturday and got a little bit too far back and had ground to make up but it was a decent effort and he often needs a prep run as he can be gassy,” explained Masterton.

Side Glance was no doubt one of the main contributing factors to Balding nominating Masterton for the Stud and Stable Staff Awards for 2014.

And the glittering ceremony in Central London last month saw the 34-year-old win two awards including the £30,000 first prize.

“It was an amazing event and I felt like I was at the Oscars! The Racing Post and Godolphin do an amazing job with the awards and I felt so honoured,” she explains.
“I first of all picked up the first prize in the Rider/Groom category and then won the Employee Of The Year award too.

“My mum was there, bless her, and I couldn’t believe the whole thing was happening. Not that there was much time for it to sink in as that happened on the Tuesday night and then I had to fly out to Dubai on the Thursday.

“You get to spend so much more time with the horses when you are travelling them and it allows you to get to know them so well.

“I sometimes think Side Glance has enough of me as I am with him all the time! But I do love it and it gives me fantastic opportunities.”
With the way things have gone in recent times for Masterton, another fantastic opportunity may be rewarded this weekend on one of the biggest stages of all.