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Thursday’s Goodwood Cup over the two miles in the UK could prove a telling guide to some of the top international hopes looking to travel down under this spring for a Melbourne Cup 2016 bid.
The Group 2 staying showdown was won 12 months ago by the Michael Bell-trained Big Orange who went on to run a close fifth behind the Darren Weir-trained Prince Of Penzance ($101) as a $61 outsider in last year’s $6 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The famous Flemington showdown runs this season on Tuesday November 1 and could again be on the agenda for Bell’s Duke Of Marmalade gelding Big Orange who is out to defend his Goodwood Cup title this week.
The galloper was last seen winning the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) over the mile and a half and should only improve going up in distance for the Goodwood Cup.
Futures Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by fellow international galloper Order Of St George ($11), part-owned by five-time Melbourne Cup winning horseman Lloyd Williams.
Prepared by Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien, Order Of St George was last seen winning the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4023m) so is more than capable of a two mile stint in Melbourne if he gets in with the right weight.
Big Orange meanwhile is at a current quote of $31 in all-in Melbourne Cup betting, a price that will be slashed if he holds off his rivals in the Goodwood Cup this week.
He faces some tough competition and a number of other genuine hopes to make the trip to Victoria for a Spring Cups’ bid this season according to Racing Victoria’s international talent scout Leigh Jordon.
“Big Orange is looking to win again and is obviously a key horse as far as we’re concerned but there are a lot of other interesting runners in the race,” Jordon said.
“The trainer and the owner believe Commissioned who won on the final day at Royal Ascot in the longest race around has the speed to come down here but he also needs to do something in the Goodwood Cup.”
Gordon Elliott prepares Authorized gelding Commissioned who comes off a win in the Queen Alexandra Stakes (4370m) from June 18 and who pays $61 to run and win the Melbourne Cup this spring.
A notable withdrawal from the 2016 Goodwood Cup field though is Antiquarium, Godolphin’s recent Northumberland Plate winner due to a minor injury.
The Charlie Appleby-trained galloper was to be ridden by in-form Sydney hoop James McDonald, who has ridden 15 winners in the UK during his stint overseas that he’ll be out to add to on Wednesday (AEST) aboard Dutch Connection in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes (1408m).
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