All systems go for Dundonnell
Roger Charlton has taken Dundonnell to Wolverhampton as part of his preparations for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.
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Prince Khalid Abdulla's charge, second in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last time, has swerved several autumn targets because of the prevailing slow ground in England and now heads to America next week.
The trainer told At The Races:"The ground dictated as much as anything else. The Dewhurst was a possibility and the Racing Post Trophy was a possibility but the Racing Post is historically always run on soft ground and I think you probably need a Galileo or a Montjeu to win that.
"There weren't many options, the Dewhurst was run on slow ground and I have great respect for Dawn Approach so I thought maybe Santa Anita would suit. Fast ground, a mile, a couple of turns and he's an American-bred horse so we'll give it a go."
Dundonnel will be racing round bends for the first time at Santa Anita, hence the preparation at Dunstall Park.
Charlton explained: "He's never raced round a bend, most of the opposition will have. I took him to Wolverhampton last week and he worked round the bottom bend mainly but cantered round the first bend after the winning post and then down the back, round the bottom.
"James Doyle rode him and he seemed to come round there very easily and he moved well and I was very pleased with his work. Had he been disappointing I think we'd have scratched the idea and waited until next year."
Charlton admits he's in the dark over how his charge will cope with the demands of the Santa Anita showpiece.
"It's never an exact science as to whether it's a good thing to go all the way to California and back but it's a big prize, an exciting challenge. We've had runners all round the world this year and this is another dimension.
"The bookmaking community price us up as favourite which is encouraging. Aidan O'Brien looks like having a couple of runners which will be hugely respected as does Jeremy Nosdea with Fantastic Moon. As for the American horses it's very hard to tell. That's why it's a challenge to go there and see but Dundonnell has a similar rating to horses that have won that race before."