09/16/2011 11:31AM

Woodbine Mile brings together European rivals Side Glance, Dance and Dance

Michael Burns
Side Glance (above) will clash again with fellow European Dance and Dance in Sunday's Woodbine Mile.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Side Glance and Dance and Dance both made their last starts in the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury on Aug. 11, traveled across the pond together, and will be racing outside England for the first time in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.

And both Side Glance and Dance and Dance could play serious roles in the turf race for 3-year-olds and upward in which a field of 12 will vie for shares of $1 million.

Side Glance got the better of Dance and Dance in their recent encounter, defeating the runner-up by a neck over good-to-fast turf under regular rider Jimmy Fortune.

Bred in England, the 4-year-old gelding Side Glance appears to have weathered the journey well.

“He seems quite fresh, and well in himself,” said Leanne Masterton, who has visited Woodbine on four previous occasions in her role as an assistant to trainer Andrew Balding.

Masterton was not at Salisbury for Side Glance’s last race but Emily Melbourn, the horse’s regular work rider, was an eyewitness.

“He was struggling, toward the end, but he came on again,” said Melbourn.“I spoke to Jimmy after the race, and he said he had a lot left.”

Side Glance had been purchased not long before his last race by his current owner, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Pearl Bloodstock Ltd, with the Woodbine Mile in mind.

“They’d been eyeing it for quite a while,” said Masterton. “And, they knew Andrew had been here before.”

Balding tried the Woodbine Mile on two occasions with Vanderlin, who finished fourth in 2005 and 12th the following season. Vanderlin had captured the Grade 2 Play the King prior to his 2005 Woodbine Mile appearance, giving Balding his third stakes win here.

His first two came with Phoenix Reach in the 2003 Canadian International and Silver Highlight in the 2003 Wonder Where.

Balding will not be on hand this year but Ed Vaughan, who arrived on Wednesday evening, is visiting Canada for the first time and Dance and Dance will be his first North American starter

An Irish-bred 5-year-old gelding, Dance and Dance was making his first appearance in a group race in the Sovereign after finishing a close fifth in the Golden Mile Handicap at Goodwood on July 29.

Vaughan said that jockey Jamie Spencer, who rode Dance and Dance there and has the call here Sunday, was a driving force behind the decision to come to Woodbine.

“The horse carried 136 pounds that day, in one of the biggest handicaps in England,” said Vaughan.

“He was very unlucky. He was boxed in, off a bad draw, and Jamie thought he would have won it if he’d got out.

“After the race he said Woodbine was where to go with this horse. He said he’d ridden horses with lesser ability here, and they’d run well.”

Vaughan also was aware that Side Glance’s connections were planning the trip to Woodbine.

“When we gave him a run for his money, we thought that this was the right place,” said the trainer, who gave Richard Hughes the mount that day when Spencer was not available.

“He absolutely hated the track – he was very unbalanced, all the way. But he made up his ground, and finished well.”

Vaughan also will have a serious rooting interest as an owner here Sunday as he holds a stake in The Grange House Partnership, whose Stars to Shine will run in the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian for fillies and mares.

Stars to Shine, who is trained here by Mark Frostad, became a stakes winner last time out in the Belle Mahone over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack after finishing a troubled fifth in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

William Buick, who won the 2009 E.P. Taylor Stakes here aboard the 44-1 Lahaleeb and finished third for Balding aboard Buccelleti in the 2009 Canadian International in his only other Woodbine appearance, is being flown in to ride Stars to Shine in the Canadian.