Managing co-owner Darren Dance has confirmed that imported stayer Dandino will make his long-awaited return to the races in the 2015 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Dandino returned to Australia in September last year and he was set for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) after finishing second behind Fawkner a year early, but he suffered a serious suspensory injury in the lead-up to the race and was ruled out of contention.
Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock considered retiring Dandino to stud, but they instead opted to send him to the care of Darren Weir to begin an extensive rehab program that would hopefully allow him to return to the races during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Dance told Racing Ahead this morning that Dandino had completed the rehab program a month ahead of schedule and appeared to be thriving ahead of his racing return, but he admitted that he did not expect a great deal from the Dansili entire in the 2015 Memsie Stakes this weekend.
“The way he has progressed he was actually four or five weeks ahead of schedule and we gave him a month off in the winter,” Dance said.
“He has been down at Warrnambool ever since and he has been progressing through to this race on Saturday.
“He has had a couple of jump outs, he just looks so well and the vets are 100 percent pleased with him, but until you get into a race you just don’t know.
“He is certainly spritely and loving it.
“Johnny Allen has been riding him in all of his work and he just said that the horse feels unbelievable.
“He is free in his action and he is just really enjoying the work.
“We have told the owners that we are going there with no expectations and hopefully he settles well, he is good in his action and he is charging to the line.
“Hopefully he can beat three or four home.
“I will be happy just to come home and still have a sound horse on Sunday.”
A host of suspensions, injuries and overseas trips means that a number of the leading jockeys in Melbourne will miss the Memsie Stakes Day meeting on Saturday and there has been a mad scramble to find jockeys to find in the Group 1 event.
Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock have elected to look closer to home and have given Darren Weir’s leading trackwork rider and regular jumps hoop John Allen the opportunity to partner Dandino in the Memsie Stakes this weekend.
“Johnny Allen is actually going to ride him,” Dance said.
“At the end of the day, Johnny Allen has probably put as much time into this horse as anyone.
“Darren Weir said that if he could ride 54 he would put him on everything, so that is how well he regards him as a judge and a rider.
“For him to have a ride in a Group 1 I think that it is only fair.
“He knows that when we get to a mile there will be another rider going on, but he deserves to take him around and race him.
“I’m sure that when he gets off him, wherever he finishes, he will be able to tell us whether he was impressed for him compared to his trials.”
The 2015 Memsie Stakes field will be released tomorrow and Dandino is set to take on the likes of Fawkner, Happy Trails, Boban, Temple Of Boom, Rising Romance, Volkstok’N’Barrell, Magicool and Hi World in the Group 1 event.