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5 Aug 2016

Big Orange team set to delay Melbourne Cup decision

The connections of recent Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange are to delay a decision on sending their impressive five-year-old gelding to Australia later this year for a second bid at winning the Melbourne Cup.

Michael Bell’s equine giant has won two of three starts on British soil this season, most recently on the Sussex Downs in claiming his second consecutive Group Two Goodwood Cup. The son of Duke Of Marmalade finished a tremendous fifth behind Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 Melbourne Cup before going on to further enhance his international reputation with a second-place finish in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March.

This campaign, the early assumption had been that the long-term plan for Big Orange was a return to Flemington in November, and a second tilt at the world’s richest two-mile handicap. Following the horse’s Goodwood Cup success last week, bookmakers moved to shorten the five-year-old from 33/1 into as short as 14/1 with BetVictor.

However, connections are opting to ‘wait and see’ before any concrete decision in made about their talented stayer’s end-of-season target.

We will be waiting for the weights for the Melbourne Cup. Mr Gredley is lukewarm about making that long trip if Big Orange gets a prohibitive weight,” said Michael Bell - speaking to the Racing Post.

The bottom weight won the race last year and it is difficult to give weight away in such a tough race - look at Snow Sky last year.”

Latest Melbourne Cup racing tips have Big Orange at $34 chance before nominations.

Should the Big Orange team choose to not make the trip to Australia later this year, they will instead target the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day, before eyeing the most lucrative domestic races in 2017.

"Don't forget he didn't run in the Ascot Gold Cup this year because of the rain and there is talk of a raising of the Goodwood Cup prize-money as well next year - there is lots to look forward to domestically next year,” added Bell.

The strapping five-year-old is set to contest the Irish St Leger in September before connections sit down to finalise whether or not to send their star to Flemington on November 1.