Headline jockey Damien Oliver is hoping the Melbourne Cup form comes to the fore again when he hops aboard Dandino in the Group 1 HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on December 8.
The last two Hong Kong Vase winners, Red Cadeaux, 2012 and Dunaden, 2011, were both coming off runs in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November, highlighting the strength of the form coming out of the famous ‘two miler’.
Dunaden took out the Hong Kong Vase at his very next start after winning the 2011 Melbourne Cup while Red Cadeaux followed his eighth behind Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup with a eighth in the Group 1 US$5.88m Japan Cup (2400m) at Fuchu, Tokyo before heading to Hong Kong.
The Marco Botti trained Dandino produced an eye catching run when second to Fawkner in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 19 before running home strongly to finish fifth to Fiorente, ridden by Oliver, the Melbourne Cup.
“I think it just proves that the Melbourne Cup has got stronger and stronger in recent years. So it’s a good form guide,” Oliver told AAP.
“I haven’t had a good look at the field yet, but just on his form he’d have to be a great chance.”
The three time Melbourne Cup winning jockey contacted Botti regarding the Hong Kong Vase ride on Dandino after his historic Melbourne Cup win on the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente.
Botti wasted no time in booking Oliver for the ride who is also riding the John Sadler trained Linton in the Group 1 HK$20m Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) on Hong Kong International Race Day.
“I rang (managing owner) Darren Dance first and he suggested it would be worthwhile giving Marco a call,” Oliver said.
“He (Botti) was impressed with my ride in the Melbourne Cup, and he was keen to have me ride the horse.”
Oliver has had plenty of success in the past in Hong Kong with wins in the 1994 Hong Kong Cup on State Taj as well as taking out the Hong Kong Sprint on Brisbane sprinter Falvelon in 2000 and 2001.
Oliver is also hoping for a bold showing from Linton who goes to Hong Kong after finishing eighth to Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12.
Linton has been a Group 1 performer for several season and was rewarded with win a in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm during this year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Red Cadeaux, who finished second to Fiorente in the Melbourne Cup and Dandino share the second line of betting for the Hong Kong Vase at $7 behind the English galloper The Fugue, the $2.65 favourite.