Managing owner Darren Dance has revealed that the 2014 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 4 will be the sole 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Dandino.
Dandino made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing second behind Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last year before finishing a credible fifth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), but Dance and trainer Marco Botti have opted against running the Dansili entire in the Caulfield Cup this year.
Dance told TVN that Dandino, who was one of a number of European-trained horses that were included in the 2014 Melbourne Cup nominations, had been trained to run out a strong 3200 metres in the Melbourne Cup and said that Botti was worried that the seven-year-old would not be fresh enough for the 2400 metres of the Caulfield Cup.
“He believes he can train him at home and just give him one run on a hard track in Australia,” Dance said.
“Marco is just a little worried about having two runs within a couple of weeks like he did last year.
“We have devised this plan to give us our best chance of winning the Melbourne Cup and that’s to run him at Kempton and put him on the second shipment for Australia.”
Dandino returned to the races for the first time since his tough performance in the Melbourne Cup with a sixth place finish in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) during the 2014 Royal Ascot Meeting and failed to beat home a single runner in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket on July 10.
The well-travelled galloper returned to the United States to defend his title in the Listed American St. Leger Stakes (2714m) at Arlington on August 16 and was denied victory by The Pizza Man; with Botti suggesting after the race that the stayer was looking for a longer trip.
“Marco said on his Arlington run he’s certainly looking for further and the best thing for him now, given how tough a race the Caulfield Cup is, would be for him to do all his work in the UK and train off the plane,” Dance said.
“He’s only had three runs in this prep and he’s not as forward as he was last year.”
Dandino ($21) is currently on the fourth line of the 2014 Melbourne Cup betting market with Ladbrokes Australia, with The Offer ($13) still a narrow favourite from Bande ($15) and Admire Rakti ($17).