BIG Orange outbattled his rivals to claim a thrilling victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup at the Sussex track.
Big Orange outbattled his rivals to claim a thrilling victory in the Qatar Goodwood Cup at the Sussex track.
Vive Ma Fille cut out the early pace under Silvestre de Sousa with the Michael Bell-trained Big Orange settled on her heels while Quest For More sat handy in third. The former was still in front with three-quarters of a mile to run with the field stretched out behind, but Big Orange was poised to challenge on the outside along with Quest For More. Vive Ma Fille’s run eventually came to an end with around a furlong to run, leaving Big Orange and Quest For More in the front rank and looking likely to battle it out.
However, Ascot Gold Cup hero Trip To Paris launched a late lunge on the inside making it a pulsating three-way finish, with Big Orange seemingly headed only to battle back in the shadow of the post. The three flashed over the line together, with Big Orange shading it by a neck for Jamie Spencer with Quest For More in second, a short head in front of Trip To Paris, who ran a blinder under his penalty.
Spencer said: “He’s very tough and honest and loves this ground.
“Silvestre [on Vive Ma Fille] was frying me early on and I was worried I was expending too much, but he was tough when I needed him to be. He can only get stronger as the year goes on.”
Bell was quick to praise Spencer’s efforts in the saddle and is now looking towards the Melbourne Cup in November for his charge, who was following his surprise success in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting.
He said: “He is an absolute star, this horse. He’s so genuine and is a pleasure to train. I can’t sing his praises highly enough.”
Bell added: “I think Melbourne is the plan. He obviously stays two miles and he’s got the boot to win a Group Two over a mile and a half, so I would say he ticks a lot of the boxes.”
Trip To Paris could clash with the winner in Australia, with Ed Dunlop nominating the “race that stops a nation” as a possible target. He said: “I think the track and the penalty probably (beat us). I just wonder whether he did hit the front and then he just wandered around a little bit which can happen at Goodwood – obviously at Ascot he had the rail to run up. ”