The last Group 1 race of the season in Australia...
Connections of Saturday’s Caulfield Cup runner-up Dandino have confirmed the European raider will be pressing onto the ‘race that stops a nation’ having pulled up well from their huge Australian debut.
Part owned by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock (ATB), the Marco Botti-trained, Newmarket-based stallion caught the eye with a powerful finish in Melbourne on the weekend.
Overcoming a wide barrier 16 of 18 draw with star hoop Craig Williams in the saddle the son of Dansili worked hard to come within one and a quarter lengths of the Team Williams-owned winner Fawkner in the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).
It was their first run since taking out the American St Leger over 2714m at Arlington in the US back in mid-August.
The performance also saw the price on Dandino to win the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 5 slashed into $7.
They now occupy the second line of Melbourne Cup betting trailing only the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente ($5.50), a position they are sure to keep now they’ve been confirmed as on track for a Melbourne Cup bid.
Darren Dance from ATB said the seven-year-old stayer came through the Caulfield Cup intact and they would run in the iconic Melbourne Cup 2013 before heading to Hong Kong for a shot at the Vase on International Race Day in December.
“The vet went over him and he seems to have come through it well. We’re looking forward now to the Melbourne Cup,” Dance told Racing Victoria on Sunday.
“It’s good that we know that the horse is at that level. To run second in a Caulfield Cup is amazing and now we can look forward to the Melbourne Cup.”
Also confident in Dandino’s ability to be competitive over the two miles of the Melbourne Cup after their stellar run at Caulfield is jockey Williams.
Among Williams post-win comments were that he performed “brilliantly” from their wide gate and possessed “great acceleration”.
While they are yet to race over further than the St Leger distance (2714m) Williams said that with a good gate they should be in with a genuine chance over the 3200m next month.
“His form suggests that his optimal distance is 2400 metres, but on that run you’re going to have to go to Flemington,” Williams said.
“If he draws a barrier he’s going to give himself every chance, isn’t he?”
Williams will miss the chance to ride Dandino in the Melbourne Cup with British hoop Ryan Moore coming over for the ride.
Williams meanwhile will still have a shot at the trophy partnering with rival raider Mount Athos, a $12 chance in the latest Melbourne Cup odds.
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