by Peter Morganti.
Spring is well and truly in the air, and for star ATB gallopers Dandino and Taiyoo, racing at Caulfield this weekend will bring out plenty of nerves of anticipation as well as excitement for their owners.
Coming from contrasting backgrounds over the past twelve months, the Darren Weir trained pair will be out to achieve similar results on Saturday as they embark on Spring programs.
Taiyoo the up and coming stayer is second-up in the Listed Slickpix Stakes over 1700m, while 2013 Caulfield Cup runner-up, Dandino takes his first step back from injury in the 1400m Group One Memsie Stakes.
While winning will be tough for the duo, finishing off their races strongly and pulling up 100% is the ultimate aim going forward, especially for Dandino.
Saturday’s race will be his first in Australia since finishing 5th in the 2013 Melbourne Cup.
Struck down with a tendon injury when under Marco Botti’s care last Spring, the 9YO and has since been on a lengthy and meticulous rehabilitation campaign under Weir.
While the stablemates will step out in separate races on the weekend, regular track rider John Allen has been booked to ride both with Brad Rawiller injured.
The Irish jump’s rider is very accomplished on the flat, so much so that Weir has no hesitation putting him on any of his horses when his weight allows.
ATB boss, Darren Dance explained Weir’s rider choice to RSN host Shane Anderson this morning.
“Darren Weir has told me many times that he isn’t afraid to put him on any horse and that it’s only his weight that holds him back. Darren puts him on all his good horses in their work and his feedback is rarely ever wrong and jockeys that are able to give that feedback are hard to find.”
While Taiyoo is striving to reach Group one level, the task of getting Dandino back to that same level will be tough as Dance continued to explain.
“We’re under no illusion of the size of the task at hand, we just want to see him do his best and hit the line strongly.
We can’t fault him, he looks awesome and his coat is fantastic. At this stage his program has been faultless so far.”
Taiyoo has thrived since his strong finishing seventh, beaten 2.5 lengths in the PB Lawrence and out to the 1700m is another step towards his preferred trips.
The 6YO son of Haradasun is looking to rise to the top level this Spring after a summer preparation netted his owners seven wins and a narrowly beaten second in the Group Two Adelaide Cup in March.
Dandino returns to the runner-up stall after his 2013 Caulfield Cup second place finish.
Article and picture by Peter Morganti – Morgz Racing @morgzracing