AN ideal barrier draw. A confident owner. An in-form jockey.
And most important of all, a fit and improving horse.
This is the Dandino story a day out from the $6m Melbourne Cup, 3200m, at Flemington.
Darren Dance, who heads up the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock syndicate that owns Dandino, is feeling comfortable and as relaxed as can be expected while meeting the demands of looking after an extensive group of owners from across Australia, a constant flow of media calls and everything that goes with having a runner in tomorrow’s Melbourne Cup.
All Dance is hoping for now from his English-trained stayer is that he performs to his best and is given every chance with the right luck in running.
“I don’t want to go away from Flemington wondering what might have been owing to bad luck,” he told The Courier last night.
“Whether he is good enough ... well, we’ll just have to see.
“It’s an even field. Any of 15 could win with the right run,” he said.
Dance, who operates ATB near Ballan, is confident though that Dandino is good enough to at the very least finish in the top six, having drawn perfectly in barrier four.
“My personal expectation is the top six.
“Then, with the right luck in the run and the right run, who knows?”
When English trainer Marco Botti and Dance mapped out Dandino’s spring campaign, it was all about a genuine tilt at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
“We set strategy to have him competitive in both.”
He finished second in the Caulfield Cup and now it is Melbourne Cup time.
The final pieces in the jigsaw will fall into place when Botti and jockey Ryan Moore fly in from the United States this morning.
Moore arrives in-form and at the top of his game after guiding Magician to victory in the $3m Breeders Cup (turf) and Dank to a win in the $2m Breeders Cup (fillies and mares turf) at the weekend.
Dandino is on the third line of betting for the Cup with TAB.com.au.
Fiorente is the $7 favourite ahead of Mount Athos $9 and Dandino $10.
Dance’s hectic build-up to the Cup continues today.
Dance, who was last night waiting for two mares to foal at his property and concerned he might be in for a long night, will go to Racing Victoria in Melbourne first-up to collect various owners’ passes and then meet a group of owners for the call of the card at Crown Casino.
Other Dandino owners will represent the various syndicates with interests in Dandino in the Melbourne Cup parade and at Government House tonight as the countdown continues.