Big Orange tees up Gold Cup tilt
Frankie Dettori produced a masterclass from the front as Big Orange ran his rivals ragged in the Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes.
The ever-popular Italian got his fractions spot on, and had everything in trouble when he kicked three out. Higher Power had tracked the leader throughout, but could not go with Michael Bell's heavily-backed 4-5 favourite when push came to shove in the Group Three event.
It was all over at the furlong pole, as the dual Goodwood Cup winner came home with a ready five lengths in hand.
Dettori, winning the race for the sixth time, was all smiles, performing his traditional flying dismount in the paddock afterwards.
He said: "I've ridden him a couple of times and am getting to know him now. We went an even gallop throughout, I picked it up at the top of the straight and I knew it would take a good one to get past me. He's as brave as a lion.
"I told Michael if he runs like that in the Gold Cup he'd be in the first three, he'd be racing better horses but on that performance he's entitled to be in the Gold Cup. He stays and he likes fast ground, it's very rare you get a wet Royal Ascot."
He added: "It's nice to see old boys like him performing year after year, it's great. He's been around a while and like Persian Punch he wears his heart on his sleeve and that's what racegoers want to see."
Bell said: "It's really nice to give him a confidence booster as he has had some hard races the last six months around the world. It is nice to come back here and have the race won a long way out. Hopefully that has teed him up for a good year.
"The Ascot Gold Cup will be next, let's just hope we get the hot weather. We declared him in the Gold Cup last year, but we took him out because of the rain. He needs summer ground to be at his best, so let's hope for fast ground.
"He is such a good mover. He is an enormous horse, with an enormous stride that covers a lot of ground, and he has not got that same stride pattern on soft ground.
"Frankie Dettori said he will run a huge race in the Gold Cup. We are looking forward to it and on fast ground he is a major player. It was a nice reception he got here on a Thursday evening. It's really heartwarming and the press he gets is fantastic."
Paddy Power halved Big Orange in price to 10-1 for the Gold Cup.
Leave us a comment!
Share this story:
Subscribe to our Newsletter today to receive Free Horse Racing Tips.
Simply fill out the form below and wait for the Free Tips to land in your inbox.