If it wasn’t for the extreme outside barrier, Craig Williams would be oozing confidence about his mount Dandino in the Caulfield Cup.
But he knows the task is achievable having guided Dunaden from the widest gate to win the 2400-metre race in 2012 before Dandino came from barrier 16 when second behind Fawkner last year.
After riding the Marco Botti-trained Dandino in a gallop at Werribee on Thursday, Williams declared his mount in perfect shape and said his job over the next two days was to work out a race plan.
“I’ve only had a brief look at the barrier draws and the horses around me,” Williams said.
“The way the track played last year, there was a distinct track pattern, so there’s no point in over analysing too many things now until we see how the races are getting run on Saturday.”
Williams goes into Saturday’s race feeling confident.
He said Dandino was in good shape and better than when he was in Melbourne 12 months ago but luck in running would be crucial.
Williams said he expected Japanese visitor Bande to lead and is not discounting fellow raider Admire Rakti.
He said wherever the Japanese gallopers go anywhere in the world they must be respected.
“Admire Rakti has clearly got the best form with his fourth in Japan Cup last year and Bande, he was very impressive in a Listed race,” Williams said.
“You have always got to respect the Japanese horses because not only are they bred, but they are prepared and trained to stay.
“That’s where their strength is.”
Fellow Botti-trained Caulfield Cup entrant Seismos had a gallop in winkers on Thursday under race jockey Craig Newitt.
Newitt said he would be disappointed if the stayer didn’t finish in the first seven.
“I’ve said all along, the two-mile race (the Melbourne Cup) at Flemington is going to be his race,” Newitt said.