ROGER Charlton is taking encouragement from the fact Dundonnell has been priced up as favourite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita next week.
A son of the American sire First Defence, Dundonnell was a close second to Toronado in the Champagne Stakes having previously won the Acomb at York.
Charlton has decided on the overseas adventure in preference to running against Dawn Approach in the Dewhurst or tackling soft ground this weekend in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. "I think the ground dictated it as much as anything else," he said.
"The Dewhurst and Racing Post Trophy were possibilities. The latter is historically run on soft ground and I think you need a Galileo or a Montjeu to win that, while the Dewhurst was on slow ground and I have the greatest respect for Dawn Approach.
"So I thought Santa Anita might suit. Fast ground, a mile, turns, he's American-bred so we'll give it a go.
"I don't know if the track will play to his strengths. He's never raced around a bend whereas the opposition will have. I took him to Wolverhampton last week. James Doyle rode him and he seemed to come round the bend pretty easy and I was pleased with his work.
"I think if he was disappointing we would have scratched the idea and waited for next year. It's never an exact science whether it's a good thing for the horse to go out to California and back.
"It's a big prize and an exciting challenge, we've had runners all around the world this year and this is another dimension. Rightly or wrongly the bookmaking community have priced us up as 3/1 favourite which is encouraging.
"Aidan O'Brien looks like having a couple who will be hugely respected and Jeremy Noseda looks like running Fantastic Moon. As for the American horses, it is very hard to tell but he has a similar rating to horses who have won that race before."
After a scheduled gallop at Manton had to be cancelled due to soft ground, Richard Hannon sent Sky Lantern to Kempton for her final workout ahead of the Breeders' Cup.
Hannon had wanted to send the Moyglare winner around Brian Meehan's American-style bend on the Manton gallops but instead the grey worked the wrong way round Kempton's all-weather. She is due to leave for America tomorrow, where she will contest the Juvenile Fillies Turf next week.