Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock (ATB) managing owner Darren Dance might have lost last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup placegetter Jakkalberry to injury over the weekend, but his Spring Racing Carnival hopes remain high thanks to exciting international Dandino, reports Racing Victoria.

Set to line up in the American St Leger (2700m) at Arlington Park in the United States on Saturday, Dance told RSN he expects the Marco Botti-trained six-year-old to prove hard to beat on the back of his last-start runner-up finish in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m) at Royal Ascot (UK).

“He travelled well and he’s eaten up. It’s a field that, with all due respect, is not as strong as what the Hardwicke Stakes was, when he ran a really good second,” Dance said.

“He’s probably going to be one of the favourites in that race, but at the end of the day, you’ve still got to compete and be good to win.

“We go there excited and confident and hopeful.”

Click here to view Dandino’s international horse profile

After his run in the St Leger on Saturday, Dandino returns to the UK where he will go into quarantine before arriving on September 28 among the first batch of international raiders to hit the Australian shores this year.

Among the first nominations last week for the BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), Dance said he believes the distance of the Caulfield feature may prove more suitable for Dandino than that of the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).

“He’s going to be a chance in the Caulfield Cup I think,” he said. “There’s a question about the two miles, it’s still to be determined, this weekend over 2700 will give us some guide.”

“At this stage I’ll be thinking he’s a strong Caulfield Cup horse more than Melbourne Cup horse just on what he’s done in the past.”

With leading UK rider Ryan Moore set to take the ride on the weekend, Dance said he is yet to make a decision as to who will partner the son of Dansili during his Melbourne Spring campaign.

Though disappointed to lose Jakkalberry for the Spring Racing Carnival, Dance said injury wasn’t career threatening with the seven-year-old to be aimed at the Dubai World Cup meeting in March 2014.

“The injury had been coming along really good while he was on the treadmill but once we started riding him out over the last three or four weeks there was just a slight deterioration that was saying he’s just not coping with that work at the minute. 

“It was just decided in the best interests of everyone we’d be better off to back off him and get him ready for Dubai in March next year.”

Click here to view Jakkalberry’s international horse profile