04/01/2015 11:33AM

California Chrome could make European debut in Lockinge Stakes

Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
California Chrome is at Newmarket with trainer Rae Guest.

California Chrome has taken up residence in the Newmarket yard of trainer Rae Guest, will get a break from serious training, and could make his next start May 16 in the J.T. Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, where he would meet Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie.

The decision to send California Chrome to England from Dubai, where he finished second Saturday night to Prince Bishop in the $10 million Dubai World Cup, apparently was made by majority owner Perry Martin. Minority owner Steve Coburn preferred an American campaign for the 2014 Horse of the Year, while trainer Art Sherman only found out Sunday morning that California Chrome would not be returning to California from Dubai.

Sherman will remain the trainer of record for California Chrome. His son and assistant, Alan, is scheduled to travel to England and check on the colt in about one month, according to Guest. Robbie Mills, who works as an exercise rider for Sherman, will ride California Chrome when he resumes training later this month, Guest said. Guest said he will slowly introduce California Chrome to the daily conditions he’ll encounter at Newmarket, which radically differ from the colt’s day-to-day routine in the U.S.

The Lockinge, at one mile, would serve as a prep for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at the Royal Ascot meet but would be a tough test in its own right, having been won by luminaries such as Frankel in recent seasons, and with the formidable Karakontie pointing that way.

California Chrome is 1 for 1 on turf, having captured the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last December, but the competition he’ll face in England is orders of magnitude more challenging.

Animal Kingdom in 2013 took a similar path, shipping from Dubai to England and training there for a start in the Queen Anne Stakes on opening day of Royal Ascot, but he could only finish 11th in that race.