Big Orange should get green light for Melbourne after his consecutive Goodwood Cup victories

Big Orange started his season on the international stage at Dubai and looks set to require his equine passport once more after he battled to a dour success in the Goodwood Cup, reports Geoffrey Riddle.

Jockey Jamie Spencer, in yellow, celebrates after riding Big Orange to a win in the Qatar Goodwood Cup at Goodwood on July 28, 2016 in Chichester, England. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
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Goodwood, England // Big Orange started his season on the international stage at Dubai and looks set to require his equine passport once more after he battled to a dour success in the Goodwood Cup here on Thursday.

Big Orange may not be the most beautiful of racehorses in the world, but he may well have one of the biggest hearts after he broke the will of a trio of horses in Pallasator, Sheikhzayedroad and Sword Fighter, who dared pursue him in the straight.

The five-year old gelding became the first horse to win consecutive Goodwood Cups since Double Trigger secured his third in 1998, and trainer Michael Bell did not discount a return here in 12 months time once Big Orange’s proposed travels are completed in the second half of the season.

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Last year Big Orange finished fifth in the Melbourne Cup on his first attempt abroad and a return to Flemington on the first Tuesday of November is a distinct possibility.

“I will have to talk to the owners Bill [Gredley] and Tim [his son], but we will almost certainly make the entry to the Melbourne Cup,” Bell said.

“Bill is not so keen, but Tim is very keen. And I am quite keen, although I think we need to see what weight he gets before we commit.

“I enjoyed the Melbourne race more than I have ever enjoyed any other experience on a racecourse other than when Motivator passed the post to win the Derby.

“There are other possible targets, like the Canadian International or Hong Kong.

“There is a lot to be chewed over.”

At Meydan Racecourse, before Big Orange ran second to Vazirabad in the Dubai Gold Cup, Bell described his horse as looking like a turtle, but reacquainted with jockey Jamie Spencer he assumed the role of the hare and took the lead as soon as the stalls opened.

He never saw another rival, but with 600 metres still left to run a wall of horses loomed up behind him but Spencer urged his mount onwards to win by a length and a quarter.

“They came at him a long way out but he was very strong at the finish,” Spencer said.

“Last year he was a very good horse but he has improved again.

“As hard as you try he just tries harder.

“He goes down to the start all lethargic but once you put the blind on him in the stalls he means business.”

Earlier in the day Charlie Appleby’s exciting Blue Point just lost out by a neck to Mehmas in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes.

The Godolphin trainer will roll the dice again at the same level when Jungle Cat takes his chance in today’s King George V Stakes.

Jungle Cat showed up well for 900 metres of the 1,200 metres of the July Cup three weeks ago, and Appleby hopes the drop down from Group 1 level and to 1,000 metres on good to firm ground can make the difference.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Muthmir, last season’s King Stand Stakes winner Goldream, and fellow Meydan runner Divine all take their chance.

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