Gold Cup winner Big Orange bids for Goodwood hat-trick

Mon 31 Jul 2017

By staff

Big Orange is set to face 15 rivals as he bids to win the Qatar Goodwood Cup for the third year on Tuesday.

Michael Bell's admirable six-year-old goes to the Sussex track on the back of a memorable victory over Order Of St George in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, and is a best-priced Evens with Ladbrokes.

Fittingly, this year's renewal of the Goodwood Cup is the first since it was given Group One status.

Though Order Of St George does not take him on, trainer Aidan O'Brien is represented by US Army Ranger.

There is a second Irish challenger in Willie Mullins' Wicklow Brave, winner of last year's Irish St Leger.

William Haggas is having a crack at the Gold Cup winner with Dal Harraild, who is next in the betting at a general 10-1, but knows the size of the task.

"Obviously we are all petrified of Big Orange but I'm really thrilled with Dal Harraild," said Haggas.

"I'd like the ground to dry as he is at his most effective on fast ground. Provided it's not too bad, I think he'll run a really good race."

“The first time I put him up to a mile and six [at York in May] he was impressive, admittedly in a weaker race, but I’m dying to run him over two miles. Believe you me, I think he will be better over that distance.

“It was my mistake we went for the Hardwicke [when he was sixth to Idaho last month]. I got sucked into the excitement of Royal Ascot and we rode him wrong because we knew he’d stay and he wasn’t quick enough. He was progressive last year and he’s still improving. It’s quite fun.”

Pat Cosgrave, his regular rider, added: “He’s in good form, has won on the track and I think he will improve for going over two miles. He should be a big player provided he gets his ground.

“I rode him the wrong way [from the front in the Hardwicke] because he was coming back in the trip. He’s a better horse ridden in midfield. It’s just a case of trying to beat the favourite, which might be hard.”

James Fanshawe's Higher Power is back in Group company after defying top weight in the Northumberland Plate having previously finished second to Big Orange in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

Ralph Beckett runs both Gold Cup fourth She Is No Lady and 2015 St Leger heroine Simple Verse.

David Simcock's stalwart Sheikhzayedroad takes his chance, as do other old favourites High Jinx, Pallastaor and Oriental Fox.

Queen's Vase winner Stradivarius, trained by John Gosden, and David Elsworth's Desert Skyline are two three-year-olds taking on well-established stayers.

Completing the line-up in a race that forms part of the Long Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series are Prince Of Arran, Qewy and Sweet Selection.

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