Bell bursting with Orange joy

Jockey James Doyle celebrates winning the Gold Cup on Big Orange

Big Orange is "bright as a button" after his Gold Cup heroics at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

Michael Bell's popular stayer made most of the running under James Doyle and held off last year's winner Order Of St George in a thrilling finish.

A hoarse-sounding Bell said: "We're all back at home, with no runners today at Ascot.

"He got back last night, he's bright as a button. His legs are ice cold and he looks very pleased with himself.

"They didn't get back until 9pm last night so it is a very long day and an arduous race, but he's got a very good constitution and the initial signs are he's as bright as a button.

"Training racehorses is a roller-coaster of emotions, the highs are huge and yesterday was a massive high.

"It's the feature race of Royal Ascot. It's a massively historic race with loads of tradition attached to it. It takes a mighty horse to win over two and a half miles.

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"When the commentator said they'd just past halfway after a mile and a quarter you think, 'Oh my god', but James Doyle gave him a wonderful ride.

"He got the fractions absolutely spot-on."

Bell believes there could still be more to come from Big Orange, who will now attempt to win the Goodwood Cup for a third consecutive year.

The Newmarket handler said: "We wanted to run him in the Gold Cup last year but the ground was on the slow side.

"Hopefully this time next year he'll be back at Royal Ascot defending his crown.

"He's probably peaking. This maybe is his peak, but I'm hoping he won't go downhill – he'll only be seven next year.

"He's won the last two (Goodwood Cups) so he'll now go there and try to chalk up the hat-trick."

When asked about the chances of Big Orange running in the Melbourne Cup, Bell told At The Races: "I would say definitely not.

"It's a handicap and his rating now is 121. It's very hard to win handicaps with top weight.

"If he's running off 121 he basically has to run to 126, which is not realistic."

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