Big Orange second in Goodwood Cup

Big Orange
Big Orange, pictured here before running in the 2016 Melbourne Cup, has failed in a quest for a third Goodwood Cup. Picture: Racing Photos.

Big Orange’s bid for a third Goodwood Cup has been thwarted by three-year-old Stradivarius.

The John Gosden-trained colt, which is paying $34 with Sportsbet to win the Melbourne Cup, overhauled the front-running Big Orange inside the final 400 metres to beat him by 1-3/4 lengths.

Stradivarius was the third of four winners on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) for his jockey Andrea Atzeni who lost the first race on protest.

The winner was cut to 6-1 for the St Leger at Doncaster on September 16 with sponsors William Hill and 4-1 with Ladbrokes.

“Frankie (Dettori) controlled the race and came up the middle, thinking he didn’t want to be attacked hard on the rail which was clever of him,” Gosden said.

“Our fellow stayed it out well. I knew he would get the trip.

“Andrea was very confident. I said is that because you made a muddle in the first and got the next two right. He said no!

“Big Orange has got a huge heart and run with credit again, but he has run into a three-year-old rather than the older horses, one who is getting 13lb (6kg) off him.

“We go to the St Leger.”

Atzeni, who had earlier landed Group Two victories aboard Expert Eye and Breton Rock, believes Stradivarius still has more to come.

“It’s a great day. I thought I had a chance coming here, but knew Big Orange was the one to beat,” Atzeni said.

“He had to give us a lot of weight, though, and he’s a three-year-old who stays well.”

While not making excuses, trainer Michael Bell believed the softer than ideal ground did not play to the strengths of Big Orange.

“We know he is better on faster ground, but the winner is probably a very good horse,” Bell said.

“He pulled well clear of the older horses and the other three-year-old that was third (Desert Skyline). That weight concession is very tough for older horses, but he has run a huge race and I’m very proud of him.

“It was slower than ideal for him, but he still ran a great race in defeat.”

Wicklow Brave, unplaced in the 2016 Melbourne Cup, finished fourth while Qewy, a dual Group winner in Australia last spring, weakened to beat just one runner home.

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