European trainer Marco Botti is confident that Dandino will go into the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 with every chance to win the $2.5 million Group 1 event.
Dandino arrived in Melbourne, with eight other European-trained 2013 Spring Racing Carnival contenders, last Saturday and Botti told Sky Racing HQ that the stayer handled the lengthy trip to Australia exceptionally well.
“He has freshened well and I have spoken to the lad who travelled with the horse and he is very happy,” Botti said.
“He lost ten kilos but he put it straight back on after ten days so we are really pleased.”
Dandino has raced consistently since being purchased by Darren Dance-owned Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock earlier this year; finishing second in the Group 2 Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes (2414m) and Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) before breaking through for a win in the American St Leger (2714m) – a race that was won by stablemate Jakkalberry in 2012.
Botti said he has been happy with the form of the Dansili entire and believes the American St Leger was an excellent lead-up race for the Melbourne Cup (3200m).
“We think that the horse is in very good form,” Botti said.
“He didn’t have many races this year, he has only had the three starts, and his form has been very consistent.
“It was a race we used last year as a stepping stone for the Melbourne Cup.
“It is not the most difficult race to win; if the European horses handle the track they have a good chance.
“It is a race that doesn’t a lot out of the horse and is a good prep race.
“The race didn’t pan out as we wanted it, he was a little bit in a pocket, but once he found clear running in the straight he finished the race really well.”
Darren Dance, the managing co-owner of Dandino, has said consistently in the past few months that the six-year-old would be better suited to the Caulfield Cup than the Melbourne Cup and Botti admitted that there was still a question mark over whether Dandino can run out the two mile trip of ‘the race that stops a nation’.
“The two miles is always something that is a bit unknown because he has never previously run over that trip,” Botti said.
“He is a horse that travels really well in a race and he ticks all the boxes to be confident that he will get the Melbourne Cup trip.
“He has enough speed for a mile and a half and we go into the Caulfield Cup hoping to run a good race.
“He is a horse that will be fit and well, if he all goes well in the next couple of weeks, and he will run with every chance in the Caulfield Cup.”
Leading British jockey Ryan Moore, who partnered Mount Athos in the 2012 Melbourne Cup, is set to ride Dandino in the Melbourne Cup but a jockey has not yet been booked for the Caulfield Cup.
“We are not sure yet who will ride him in the Caulfield Cup,” the Italian trained said.
“Ryan Moore should be available for the Melbourne Cup but the Caulfield Cup clashes with the Champion Stakes in England so it is very unlikely to use a European jockey.”
Dandino is aiming to join Taufan’s Melody (1998), All The Good (2008) and Dunaden (2012) as the only European-trained winners of the Caulfield Cup.