Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s managing director Darren Dance has confirmed there will be no autumn comeback for the now Darren Weir-trained import Dandino who is in recovery ahead of the spring.
The Dansili stallion, winner of the 2013 American St. Leger, was down under during last year’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival for the Newmarket-based Marco Botti but injury ruled him out of making an appearance.
“He sustained a minor injury to his suspensory and we had to stop unfortunately because he was going super the horse,” Dance told Sky Sports Radio’s Andrew Bensley on Wednesday
Dandino was targeting a second start in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) following a second in the race 12 months before behind Fawkner in his Australian debut, which he backed up from to finish a brave fifth in the world-famous Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) that November.
Two days before the 2014 Caulfield Cup however the eight-year-old suffered an injury during track-work and connections were forced to cancel plans to race that campaign.
It was also decided soon after not to return the horse to England with Dandino staying on in Australia to be trained by Weir in 2015.
“In the ensuring few weeks we decided that given he’s a firm track horse there was really no point in sending him back to the UK so we might as well keep him her and set him up and see if we can get him right for 2015,” Dance said.
The horse is now residing at Weir’s Ballarat base undertaking a 16-week rehabilitation program that rules him out of an autumn run this time, and that Puissance De Lune went through ahead of his return last year.
“He’s in at Ballarat. Probably been in just on five weeks now,” Dance said.
“We go through an extensive rehab program with him.
“There’s a 16 week program where they gradually build up their work, spend a lot of time on the treadmill then.
“And he’s under the close supervision of Darren Foreman and also the Ballarat Vet Clinic.
“At some point he will have a break and then go to Warrnambool and essentially go into a normal preparation.
“But no autumn, there’s no point. We don’t want to rush him.
“We’ve compared Dandino to the issues they’ve had with Puissance De Lune last year they’re of the opinion that it’s nowhere near as severe as what Puissance De Lune had and they were able to get him back through this program with moderate success.
“I’m bias, I think Dandino’s probably a little bit superior class of horse so if they can get him back to run second in a Group 1 then I think we’ve got a chance to certainly get him back for the right races.”
The focus now is on getting him 100% sound before another Spring Cups bid targeting the Caulfield Cup in October and the ‘race that stops a nation’ – the 2015 Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November.
“He’s too good a horse he’s been a great to us and we want to do the right thing by the horse so we’ll just take our time and if there is any hint of any issue he’ll be retired immediately,” Dance said.
“He’s been fantastic for all the owners and obviously our brand.
“He’s just the most beautiful looking animal and I had him here at the stud for about five weeks before he went in and he’s just a gentlemen.
“You led him around and you’d walk him past the fillies and mares and he’d hardly turn an ear he’s got such a great nature and he’s just a pleasure to be involved with.”
Futures Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are currently lead by last year’s third placed mare Lucia Valentina ($15).
Dandino can be found further down those all-in Caulfield Cup betting markets at a juicy $51.
He is notably shorter in the futures Melbourne Cup odds however paying $34 to win the world’s richest handicap in markets led by the defending champ Protectionist ($13) who is eyeing a first-up run in the Australian Cup 2015 at Flemington on March 14.
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