Talented stayer Big Orange will run in the 2015 Melbourne Cup despite failing to fire in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) at York last weekend.
Big Orange went into the Lonsdale Cup as one of the favourites after he recorded tough wins in both the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket on July 9 and the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) on July 30, but he was one of the first horses beaten in the Group 2 event and faded badly to finish seventh.
Trainer Michael Bell was obviously disappointed with the performance of Big Orange in the Lonsdale Cup, but he believes that the Duke Of Marmalade gelding had plenty of excuses for his flat performance in the Group 2 event.
“In hindsight he dug very deep at Goodwood and it was only three weeks ago and he had a toughish race at Newmarket three weeks before that,” Bell told UBET Radio.
“His body language when I was saddling wasn’t quiet right and my gut feel before the race wasn’t the same as it should have been.
“I wish I hadn’t run him because it was slow ground and he had run badly at York in May and a combination of factors conspired against him not running to the best of his ability.”
While Big Orange failed to fire in the Lonsdale Cup, Bell is still keen to send the stayer to Australia and he confirmed that he will run in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3.
Bell is confident that Big Orange can return to his best form in the Melbourne Cup and he revealed that the gelding will head into ‘the race that stops a nation’ without a lead-up run in Australia.
“We will freshen him up and have him all guns blazing,” Bell said.
“He is coming.
“We know the form figures that he is capable of running too.
“No horse can win every race unless they are Frankel, so they are entitled to a blob and there are a lot of reasons why he didn’t perform.
“He will run off the plane.”
Big Orange is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $26 with Ladbrokes, while Japanese stayer Fame Game ($11) is now a clear favourite from Godolphin-owned Hartnell ($17), Australian Derby winner Mongolian Khan ($17), two-time Group 1 winner Contributer ($21), Lonsdale Cup winner Max Dynamite ($21), last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist ($21) and Hardwicke Stakes winner Snow Sky ($21).