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Marco Botti’s Australian-owned stallion Dandino has made it back-to-back American St Leger’s for their trainer, booking their trip down under for the Melbourne Cup 2013 by winning the classic over the weekend.
The Newmarket-based Botti prepared last year’s American St Leger winner Jakkalberry before bringing them to Australia for their third behind Green Moon in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
While the now eight-year-old Storming Home galloper Jakkalberry has been ruled out of a return trip to Melbourne this spring due to injury setbacks, Botti and connections Australian Bloodstock will still play a strong hand in the world’s richest handicap.
It is now all system’s go towards the November 5 feature for Dansili six-year-old Dandino after their St Leger success at Arlington where they were backing up from two brave second place runs in Britain, most recently behind the ill-fated Thomas Chippendale in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) at Royal Ascot in June.
The American St Leger was no walk in the park for the Melbourne Cup-bound champ either with jockey Ryan Moore having to work to get them a clear run that would lead to their half-length victory over Suntracer.
“I was locked in the whole race but he was the best horse,” Moore said post-race according to AAP.
“He picked it up natural. I thought I’d keep it simple, but they were on top of me the whole race.”
In the latest Melbourne Cup betting markets at the Aussie bookies Dandino is rated a $26 chance to win the cup.
Markets are clearly led by the firming $5.50 favourite Puissance De Lune who further staked their claims with their all-too-easy win in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on the weekend.
Formerly prepared by James Fanshawe, Dandino is also considered a genuine shot at the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 paying $19.
Australian Bloodstock’s Darren Dance had them touted as a Caulfield Cup horse for sure but until their St Leger success over the 2700m he wasn’t sure about them going towards the two miles of the Melbourne Cup.
“Before this race I thought that he is probably a better Caulfield Cup chance than a Melbourne Cup chance as his form over 2400 metres has been really good,” Dance said.
“But after running out the 2700-metre trip here, he may just be a better two-mile prospect now than we thought.”
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