Veteran stayer Dandino continued the biggest week of trainer Darren Weir’s career with a victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2600m) at Flemington.
The nine-year-old import recorded his first win since August 2013 and landed connections a $100,000 bonus – available to any horse that paid up for the Emirates Melbourne Cup that didn’t make the field – on top of the $180,000 first prizemoney.
Weir, who admitted he still couldn’t believe he’d won Tuesday’s ‘race that stops the nation’ with Prince Of Penzance, said it was a great to get a win with Dandino who was sent to the stable following a tendon injury.
“He came to us with a significant injury and (owner) Darren Dance asked if I was prepared to give him a go and I said with a horse like him I’m prepared to give it a crack,” Weir said.
“I got the Ballarat Vet Clinic involved and they need to be thanked because they’ve kept a close eye on his leg the whole way through and have told us when we can work him and when we can’t.
“When he ran at (the) Geelong (Cup) the plan was to try and win to get a penalty and sneak into the Cup but he had every chance but the winner was too good on the day and this is a nice back-up.”
After settling in fourth position on the back of the favourite Secret Number ($2.70), when jockey Ben Melham angled Dandino ($3.90) into the clear at the top of the straight he finished powerfully to win by 1.75 lengths over Secret Number, with Don Doremo ($31) a further half-head away in third.
In further news, Melham was later suspended for 15 meeting for the winning ride after he was found guilty of careless riding for an incident in the home straight which caused Secret Number to be checked.