Gold Cup hero Big Orange under consideration for Sandown test

Michael Bell keen to run popular stayer in Henry II Stakes

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Big Orange could warm up for his defence of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot by bidding for back-to-back victories in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown on May 24.

Michael Bell’s popular stayer disappointed on his first start of 2018, in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March, but part-owner Tim Gredley is confident he can bounce back on home soil.

He said: “Big Orange is in good form. We’ve not been going bananas with his work as the ground is still on the soft side, so he has been ticking along on the all-weather.

“It just didn’t really work out in Dubai, with the heat and the travelling. It was one of those races to draw a line under. He is back and is really healthy and now we will just aim him at the Henry II at Sandown.

“The biggest challenge with Big Orange is finding the ground for him. If the Sandown plan doesn’t work, we’ll try and find somewhere else to get a run in on fast ground.”

He added: “Michael Bell was more bullish going into Dubai than I have ever seen him. Big Orange is seven, but he has not raced a lot and he has not had a hard life, so hopefully we can have him for another couple of years.

“For a couple of years we had the Melbourne Cup on the back of our minds, but we don’t want to be doing that any more. The Ascot Gold Cup is the main target again.”

Gold Cup hero Big Orange under consideration for Sandown test
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