English stayer Dandino will head to Australia for the Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup (3200m) after overcoming a difficult run to win the American St Leger (2700m) at Arlington on Sunday morning.
Dandino was pocketed and unable to find a run in the straight but eventually found clear running to record a half-length victory from Suntracer and Najjaar to give owners Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock their second straight victory in the race after Jakkalberry won the inaugural edition last year.
Jockey Ryan Moore said after the race that he was delighted with how the son of Dansili responded when he found clear running in the final stages of the race.
“I was locked in the whole race, but he was the best horse,” Moore said after the race.
“He picked up natural, I thought I’d keep it simple, but they were on top of me the whole race.”
Managing co-owner Darren Dance confirmed that Dandino was set to arrive in Melbourne on September 28, with the first group of overseas entries for the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, and said he was far more confident about the six-year-olds Melbourne Cup hopes after seeing him finish the staying test in such impressive fashion.
“Before this race I thought that he is probably a better Caulfield Cup chance than a Melbourne Cup chance as his form over 2400 metres has been really good,” Dance told AAP.
“But after running out the 2700-metre trip here, he may just be a better two-mile prospect now than we thought.”
The victory was the first win for the Marco Botti-trained entire this campaign, after he finished second in both the Group 2 Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket and the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) during the Royal Ascot Meeting.
Dandino will be Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s only entrant in the 2013 Melbourne Cup with Jakkalberry ruled out of the race due to injury.