British horseman Michael Bell has confirmed plans to send his smart stayer Big Orange back down under for a second Melbourne Cup bid this spring, the English galloper fifth in the ‘race that stops a nation’ last season.
Currently the Duke Of Marmalade gelding pays $41 in all-in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the $6 million Group 1
(3200m), the two mile classic running as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 1.
It looks a juicy price for the five-year-old who was defeated only 2.4 lengths by last year’s $101 upset Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance (2015) when jockey Jamie Spencer rode him to fifth from barrier 23 of 24.
Winner of last July’s £300,00 Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3219m), Big Orange had just one run between that and the Melbourne Cup when second last (seventh) to Max Dynamite in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3300m) at York in August.
He jumped as a $61 roughie in the Melbourne Cup odds last year, a price he proved a far better former than.
In a fortnight the Newmarket-based Bell will give Big Orange his first early Melbourne Cup preparatory run at Sandown in the Listed Coral Marathon (3212m) having bypassed the famous Royal Ascot carnival.
A shot at back-to-back Goodwood Cup wins in July will follow before a likely Melbourne Cup bid in Australia, the galloper last seen crossing nine lengths away third to Aussie Exosphere in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes (2400m) in late April.
“Big Orange has been in great form at home. It is just that the ground has not been suitable for him so far this season as he is a better horse on good ground,” Bell told the Sporting Life.
“We will see how his summer campaign goes first but it is possible that he could go to Australia again later this year.”
The internationals are already dominating pre-nomination Melbourne Cup odds with Order Of St George current $13 favourite.
Part-owned by Lloyd Williams, the Aidan O’Brien-trained Galileo stallion from Ireland won last year’s Irish St Leger and was last seen taking out the Ascot Gold Cup.
Japan’s Fame Game ($17) who crossed 13th as the beaten Melbourne Cup favourite last November and the 2015 runner-up Max Dynamite ($17) follow in the markets.
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