Paul Francis, the stable foreman for leading European trainer Marco Botti, is confident that Australian-owned stayer Dandino will finish in the top three in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Dandino is coming off two impressive performances in Australia during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, finishing second in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and fifth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), and Francis believes that the Dansili entire was unlucky in both races.
Francis told Thorough Media that he believes Dandino can replicate his Australian form this weekend and finish in the placings but admits that classy filly The Fugue will be difficult to beat if she performs at her best.
“He ran two blinding races,” Francis said of Dandino’s 2013 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“The Caulfield Cup he just didn’t draw great and in the Melbourne Cup he just got shuffled back at the wrong time but he finished strongly so we are very happy with him.
“It is a strong field and if The Fugue turns up she is going to be very hard to beat but she has had a long season, going to America, and we are hopeful that if he can run his race he will finish in the first three.
“I am really confident that he will be in the first three.”
Dandino has raced in Great Britain, The United States Of America and Australia this preparation and is a truly a seasoned international traveler after also competing in Canada and Hong Kong last year; finishing second in the Group 1 Canadian International Stakes (2413m) before his seventh place finish in the 2012 edition of the Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
Francis said that Dandino handled the trip from Hong Kong to Australia beautifully and could not be happier with the condition of the six-year-old entire heading into the Group 1 event this weekend.
“He lost three kilos coming from Australia and he has put it all back on,” Francis said.
“He is about the same weight as he was in the Caulfield Cup now and we are very happy with his condition.
“I think that he improves at least seven pounds abroad and he just seems to like the routine.
“It is just a matter of keeping him ticking over really, he had one little blow on Sunday, but it is just cantering from here on in.”
Dandino will be ridden by Damien Oliver in the Hong Kong Vase and will be the first Australian-owned galloper to win the race if he is successful on Sunday.