European stayer Dandino received no luck at the barrier draw for the 2013 Caulfield Cup (3200m) this morning, drawing barrier 19, but stable rider Paul Francis remains confident that the six-year-old can win the $2.5 Group 1 event.
Francis has done the majority of the work on Dandino at the International Equine Centre at Werribee and the Dansili entire has impressed onlookers with a series of impressive gallops since arriving in Australia just over two weeks ago.
Dandino is a seasoned international traveler, having previously raced in Japan, Canada, The United States and Hong Kong, and Francis said at the barrier draw this morning that the Marco Botti-trained stayer had no problems settling into Australia.
“He is a proper professional really,” Francis said.
“From day one he has settled in like he has been here all his life, which is a good sign.
“He has plenty of air miles on his back so he has gotten used to it.”
Craig Williams will ride Dandino in the Caulfield Cup this weekend and made two trips to Werribee last weekend to partner the American St Leger winner in trackwork.
Dandino only cantered on Saturday but was given a proper track gallop and asked to extend on Saturday when working alongside Caulfield Cup first emergency Forgotten Voice.
Francis said that Williams was impressed with the work and is looking forward to partnering Dandino as he searches for his third straight victory in the Caulfield Cup after winning the past two editions of the race with Southern Speed (2011) and Dandino (2012).
“He is very happy with him and looking forward to the ride,” Francis said.
“He hasn’t been off the phone since so he must be so excited.”
Dandino is sure to need a bit of luck on Saturday but Francis believes that the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned entire is good enough to recover if he find himselfs in trouble early in the race – pointing to his success in the American St Leger (2714m) where he struggled to find clear running in the final stages of the race.
“That is one good thing about him he can get himself out of trouble,” Francis said.
“Even if a jockey puts him in trouble he can find a way of getting out of it because he has got that turn-of-foot.”
Dandino will be Marco Botti’s second runner in the Caulfield Cup after Jakkalberry finished 13th in last year’s race before going on to finish third in the Melbourne Cup (3200m).