The Marc Botti stable is going into tomorrow’s Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield full of confidence with their tough stayer Dandino ready to fire.
The Newmarket trainer saddled up the widely travelled Jakkalberry who finished thirteenth in last year’s Caulfield Cup behind super French stayer Dunaden and are using the experience to prepare Dandino for his attack on the Cup.
Stable representative and travelling handler Paul Francis said that last year they virtually used the Caulfield Cup as a lead up run for the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington, but this year the stable is all to collect the major prize.
“We’ve come more prepared this year,” Francis told the Sportsman.
“We used the Caulfield race as a prep race last year but we are going flat out to try to win it this year if possible.”
Dandino has continued to thrive since arriving at the Werribee International Horse Centre with reports that the seven year old has been the star worker of the visiting European horses.
Melbourne jockey Craig Williams is also talking up the chances of the Dansili stallion and will be striving for him to make it three Caulfield Cups in a row for the top jockey after winning on Southern Speed in 2011 and on Dunaden last year.
“Craig has won the last two Caulfield Cups and he is one of Australia’s top jockeys,” Francis said.
“He seems very excited to ride the horse and I’ll be disappointed if he wasn’t in the shake up.”
“One advantage I think the horse has is a good cruising speed, which I think you need around these tight tracks.”
“It was a tight track in Chicago and he handled that very well so he has had the advantage of going around a tight bend.”
Dandino comes to Caulfield with some solid form behind him including an unlucky second to Thomas Chippendale in the Group 2 £200,000 Hardwicke Stakes (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 22 and a win in the US$400,000 American St. Leger Stakes (1 mile, 5 1/2 furlongs) at Arlington Park, USA on August 17.
Dandino was hampered by a loose horse in a rough house Hardwicke Stakes when second and then had to overcome a chequered run in the straight to win at Arlington Park in Chicago.
“With the loose horse it didn’t help at Ascot, he has that one burst and he had to use it up a bit early to get past it,” Francis said.
“The St Leger was an ideal prep race for him before coming over.”
Dandino is well in contention in Caulfield Cup betting and is a $10 chance in the market order.
The Chris Waller trained pair of Hawkspur, $4.80, and Royal Descent, $6.50, head the betting with Silent Achiever at $8 and David Hayes’ import Jet Away at $9.50.