FAME And Glory takes a step into the unknown as he tackles the Santa Anita dirt for the first time in tonight's Breeders' Cup Marathon.
The son of Montjeu was a top drawer middle-distance horse as a three and four-year-old, with victories in the Irish Derby and the Coronation Cup at Epsom highlighting his undoubted class.
Aidan O'Brien successfully converted him into a stayer last season, winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot over two and a half miles and the British Champions Long Distance Cup, but he has been disappointing in the same two races this season.
Having travelled strongly into the race when defending his Champions Day crown a couple of weeks ago, he appeared to down tools fairly quickly, and he is applied with a visor for his California mission.
Jamie Spencer keeps the ride on the six-year-old, part-owned by Jim and Fitri Hay.
O'Brien (pictured above) said: "He doesn't owe anyone a thing and we are entitled to be the wiser after Ascot, because in soft ground he tends to look after himself.
"He has a lot of class and is a big cruiser.
"Jamie did it 100 per cent right at Ascot but we are prepared to try new things.
"He's a Group One horse that has won from a mile and a quarter to two and a half miles."
There is a second Irish challenger in the mile and three-quarter contest in the shape of the Dermot Weld-trained Sense Of Purpose.
She is another high-class stayer on her day, but similarly needs to bounce back from a disappointing campaign.
American-based Irishman Eoin Harty is hopeful of a decent show from Balladry, who carries the royal blue silks of Godolphin.
Harty said: "The Breeders' Cup Marathon is a race that has been in my mind all year -- Balladry is a pure stayer and there are very few opportunities.
"I was looking for a race to get him to the Marathon and the only opportunities were a mile and quarter on the turf or a mile and an eighth on the main track.
"He is running on the main track so he went for the Goodwood but the jockey did not listen to what I wanted him to do. He wanted to put Balladry in the race with the likes of Game On Dude so that did not suit.
"Balladry is like mashed potatoes -- he needs some warming up before he gets going. His good races and bad races have all been pace related.
"They are a couple of legitimate front runners and I would like them to go a decent pace with Balladry sitting within six lengths of the lead and then get stuck in about the half-mile pole."