Connections of last year’s runner-up Dandino are again considering another shot at the Caulfield Cup this spring ahead of the 2014 Melbourne Cup following the British-trained stallion’s September Stakes fourth over the weekend.
Based at Newmarket in the UK, the Marco Botti-trained Dansili eight-year-old was one of a number of down under bound spring hopes running in the Group 3 September Stakes (2414m) at Kempton Park on Saturday.
The race was won by the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Prince Bishop first-up for Godolphin, the Dubawi gelding carrying a hefty 62.5kg to a commanding two length victory over Secret Number.
Dandino meanwhile was the best finished of the Spring Cup chances crossing seven lengths away fourth, an effort that impressed Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s Darren Dance.
“It was a bit of a funny-run race,” he told the Racing Network.
“They walked early then it was a bit of a sprint down the straight, but we were happy enough. He ran on and finished fourth.”
Dandino travelled to Victoria last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival on the back of an American St. Leger Stakes win at Arlington, catching the eye right away when runner-up to Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
That run was followed by a step up to the two miles for a shot at the world’s richest handicap, Dandino far from disgraced when three and a half lengths away fifth behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiornete in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The 2014 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 4 is again the main aim for Dandino this season, the galloper occupying the fourth line of futures Melbourne Cup betting at $21.
That’s an equal price as Cox Plate fancy Silent Achiever and triple Melbourne Cup winning mare Makybe Diva’s three-quarter sister La Amistad.
Melbourne Cup futures odds meanwhile are still led by Waterhouse’s Sydney Cup winner The Offer ($13) after the Montjeu gelding’s brave first-up fifth to The Cleaner in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) in Melbourne over the weekend.
Heading towards the famous Flemington Race 7, Dandino could also have a second run in this year’s Caulfield Cup field on October 18 despite connections confirming him as a non-runner when Caulfield Cup weights were released last week.
A final call will be made on Tuesday night when Dance and Botti speak over the phone to discuss whether Dandino comes over from Europe to Melbourne with the first shipment of internationals including stablemates Seismos and Guest Of Honour.
“Marco has a view that he’s racing more like a two-miler at the moment,” Dance said on Sunday.
“Last night (in the September Stakes) may have even shown that again.
“We’ll see how he pulls up and have a couple of days to think about whether we come for the Caulfield and Melbourne (Cups) or just the Melbourne.
“At this stage no decision has been made.”
Also running in the September Stakes was dual Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux who was a disappointing seventh, walking home nearly 24 lengths off the winner after weakening badly in the closing stages.
Trainer Ed Dunlop blamed the pace of the race for Red Cadeaux’s failure, the veteran nine-year-old at $34 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win the Melbourne Cup in his fourth straight attempt.
“(Jockey) Gerald (Mosse) said that they went slow and he couldn’t be bothered,” Dunlop said.
“We’ll take him home and think about it.”