Newmarket’s Michael Bell is keen to give dual Goodwood Cup champion Big Orange a second shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ but is sweating on the release of the Melbourne Cup 2016 weights.
Bell and connections travelled the Duke Of Marmalade gelding to Victoria last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival where the horse made a one-run-hit on the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The dour stayer could be Melbourne-bound again for another go at the famous two mile Flemington feature on the first Tuesday of November after taking out the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3200m) on Thursday for the second year in a row.
Ridden by Jamie Spencer the punters’ pick Big Orange led all the way and by the line had one and quarter lengths to spare over the Sir Mark Prescott-trained runner-up Pallasator, who is another international being considered for a trip down under this year, in the Goodwood Cup.
The last dual Goodwood Cup winner was Persian Punch (2001 and 2003), while the last back-to-back winner was Double Trigger (1997-1998).
Big Orange won last year’s Goodwood Cup before a trip to York where he ran second last behind Max Dynamite in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3300m).
Lonsdale Cup winner Max Dynamite went on to run second to the Darren Weir-trained roughie winner Prince Of Penzance in the Melbourne Cup, while Big Orange also ran bravely in the world’s richest handicap crossing 2.4 lengths away fifth as a $61 shot.
In futures Melbourne Cup betting for this season Max Dynamite is at $17 in markets led by Order Of St George ($11), while Big Orange is at $31.
Bell said he was eager to give the horse another chance in the Melbourne Cup but he still needed to convince co-owner Bill Gredley and see what weight Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter allocated the galloper.
“Bill is not so keen on it but (his son) Tim is very keen and I am quite keen, although I think we need to see what weight he gets before we commit,” Bell told the media post-Goodwood Cup win.
“The Melbourne Cup is a handicap so there is no point flying round the world if you think you’ve got too much weight. I’ve got to talk to Bill but I think we will make the entry.”
Bell also said the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 was another Melbourne Cup lead-up option for Big Orange.
“The Caulfield Cup is also a handicap so that’s an option but we would have to see what he is rated,” he said on Thursday.
“I doubt his rating will go up today but we had 55.5kg last year and if we start going up to say 57kg it would start making it difficult.
“He has got the attitude to do it. Apart from winning the Derby here, I enjoyed the Melbourne experience more than any other experience I have had on a racecourse so we might go back if we feel we could trouble the judge.”
Spencer, who made the trip to Australia to ride Big Orange in the Melbourne Cup, agreed the horse could be a competitive addition to the race once again in 2016.
“I can see no reason why he wouldn’t run a big race in the Melbourne Cup again,” he said.
“A race like the Caulfield Cup wouldn’t suit him, though, as it’s an extremely tight track. He’s a horse that likes to gallop.”
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