by Peter Morganti.
Formerly trained by Marco Botti the stayer has yet to open his winning account on Australian soil, but terrific efforts in the Maykbe Diva & Turnbull Stakes at Flemington indicate that is all about to change.
Now under the care of Darren Weir, the 8YO by Northern Hemisphere time, is primed to win a race, the leading trainer hopeful it is tomorrow.
“He is looking like he wants the 2400m now and I’m happy with his progress in what has been a smooth and good preparation,” he said.
“I’ve added the blinkers and there will be no excuses, especially as he has a perfect gate (8).”
After an extensive rehabilitation program following a suspensory ligament injury last Spring, the black stallion has bounced back in terrific, albeit unlucky form.
While gaining a Caulfield Cup start was thwarted by a winless campaign, the change in direction to gain a Melbourne Cup start might yet be a blessing.
Dandino’s best form has been over the 2400 metre trip of tomorrow’s Cup, including two overseas Group wins and an unlucky second to Fawkner in the 2013 Caulfield Cup.
Finally,a good barrier will give Ben Melham the opportunity to settle him into a more customary position around midfield, rather than how he has been ridden recently because of barriers that didn’t suit.
A final working gallop with stablemate Prince Of Penzance at Warrnambool last Sunday put the final polish on the popular racehorse for tomorrow’s assault.
A big group of owners headed by ATB bosses Darren & Liz Dance will be on course to cheer their star home, against what looks an even Cup field.
The field of seventeen is headed by top weight Quest For More, who also looks to be one of the main dangers.
With form around Caulfield Cup runner-up Trip To Paris, and having never been unplaced over the trip including two wins, the 6YO trained by Englishman Roger Charlton will be hard to beat.
Although he hasn’t raced since July when second in the Goodwood Cup behind Big Orange, he does have a good fresh record including a win and two placings from five attempts.
Ace Sydney rider Tommy Berry takes the reins, but he will need a masterful ride from barrier sixteen.
Others with chances appear to be likely leader Bonfire from the Waterhouse camp, while German stayer Guardini has solid 2400m form at his first go on Aussie soil.
Locally trained Sertorious looks the best of our locals with regular rider Ryan Maloney in the saddle.
The challenge is there, but the much-loved Dandino is ready for the fight.
If the Racing god’s play their part, it will mean one big celebration in the Tobin Bronze room tomorrow.
It will also mean when aching heads lift from pillows next morning, a Melbourne Cup dream will still remain!
Article and picture by Peter Morganti – Morgz Racing @morgzracing