Big Orange sets sail for Australian campaign

Big Orange finished fifth in last year's Melbourne Cup

PICTURE: Mark Cranham ( Big Orange sets sail for Australian campaign By David Milnes 8:48AM 14 OCT 2016

MICHAEL BELL waved Big Orange off for his second successive trip to the Melbourne Cup on Thursday after completing his two-week spell of quarantine in Newmarket.

Last year's fifth is a 12-1 chance to give Bell and owner Bill Gredley their first win down under and could not be in better shape according to the trainer.

The five-year-old is fresher than most having only had four races this term, most recently when winning the Group 2 Goodwood Cup for a second year in July.

Bell said: "Big O is taking off today and I went to see him last night before he left. He was in fantastic shape and still has his summer coat.

"He's 4 or 5lb's heavier than last year which you would expect as he's grown and developed. We've deliberately kept him fresh for another crack at the Melbourne Cup and we'll know more in another 36 hours when he gets there."

Last year, the son of Duke Of Marmalade made most of the running from a low draw when fifth to Prince Of Penzance but Bell is unworried about the stall position this time around. He said: "I'm not worried about the draw as if you're drawn low you spend ages in the stalls whilst if you're high it's straight in and out."

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