European stayer Dandino will contest the American St. Leger (2714m) at Arlington this weekend before coming to Australia for the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.
The Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned six-year-old will be looking to follow in the footsteps of stablemate Jakkalberry who won the American St. Leger last year and managing co-owner Darren Dance is confident that Dandino is good enough to give his ownership team their second straight victory in the $400,000 race.
“He flew over to Chicago on the weekend and he travelled well and has eaten up,” Dance told Racing Ahead.
“He is in a field there that is not as strong as the Hardwicke Stakes was, when he ran a really good second.
“He is probably going to be one of the favourites in that race but at the end of the day he still has to compete and be good enough to win.
“We go there excited, confident and hopeful.”
Dandino was purchased specifically to be a ‘Cups’ contender and Dance said the son of Dansili has thrived since joining the stable of champion European trainer Marco Botti at the start of the year.
“Since he has been in Marco’s yard he has really come on and improved.
“I’m not sure exactly what Marco does over there but he seems to really get these older stayers going to the next level.
“When we bought the horse we knew he had the good form around the right animals but if you could see the horse now he is just in outstanding condition.
While Jakkalberry was slightly disappointing in the 2012 Caulfield Cup (2400m), finished thirteenth behind Dunaden, before going on to run an impressive third in the Melbourne Cup (3200m), Dance believes that Dandino may be better suited to the earlier race that will be run at the home of the Melbourne Racing Club on October 19.
“He is going to be a chance in the Caulfield Cup but there is a question over two miles,” the co-owner said.
“This weekend over 2700 metes will give us some guide but at this stage I think he is a stronger Caulfield Cup horse than a Melbourne Cup horse just based on what he has done in the past.
“In saying that, Marco can really improve these horses and he knows how to get a horse ready for a two mile race.”
European jockey Ryan Moore, who rode Mount Athos in the 2012 Melbourne Cup, will ride Dandino on Saturday and is a chance to partner the entire in the ‘race that stops a nation’.