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Already having atoned for their controversial suspension with a Melbourne Cup win this month, things are continuing on an upwards trend for jockey Damien Oliver who has now secured a 2013 Hong Kong Vase ride on Dandino in December.
This time last year Oliver was embroiled in controversy for a betting scandal that would see him sidelined from racing for a lengthy spell.
He returned this spring and went from a career low to a high securing his third Melbourne Cup trophy this time saluting aboard the Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Fiorente.
That gun ride caught the eye of the Australian connections of British stayer Dandino who he will get a chance to partner at Hong Kong’s famous International Race Day on Sunday December 8.
Marco Botti’s Dansili stallion, winner of the American St Leger back in August, travelled down under for a shot at the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival riches having been purchased by the prolific Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock (ATB).
They put in two brave runs two.
The first was a second to Fawkner in the Caulfield Cup when ridden by Craig Williams before their fifth, blocked for a run rounding the turn for home before working their way from near last to only three and a half off the winner, behind Oliver and Fiorente in the Melbourne Cup with Ryan Moore in the saddle.
Dandino is now Hong Kong-bound for the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) with the in-form and experienced Oliver along for the ride replacing Moore.
“We had a chat to Marco and decided to go with either a Hong Kong or Australian rider for Hong Kong,” ATB’s Darren Dance told Racing Victoria this week.
“We had a lot of riders ring, including Damien, but at the end of the end of the day I think Damien was the only one who privately rung Marco.
“Marco obviously watched the replay a few times to watch Dandino and he no doubt saw Oliver’s ride on Fiorente and told me he was impressed.
“He’s riding like a man possessed, so it’s good to have him.”
So they think they’ve got the jockey right and Dance believes Dandino, who will stay on at Werribee until November 24, is also spot on.
“He’s perfect,” Dance said.
“He’s come through the race like he’d hardly been around.
“He lost eight kilos – he lost seven after Caulfield – but he’s put that back on, he took the inoculations in his stride and he’s done very little work the last week and freshened right up.”
After Hong Kong more international glory could await Dandino during March’s Dubai World Cup meeting followed by a second shot at the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
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