Big Orange won a thrilling Goodwood Cup in 2015
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tony McFadden 12:00pM 26 JUL 2016
Jamie Spencer partnered Big Orange to last year’s Goodwood Cup success and is back in the saddle having deserted the five-year-old to ride The Grey Gatsby in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket last time.
Big Orange produced one of the best performances of his career at Newmarket under an inspired front-running ride from James McDonald and has been installed as the 9-2 favourite to defend his crown.
Trainer Michael Bell is confident the horse can follow up that success. He said: “Visually it was a career-best [at Newmarket] and the handicapper agrees – he’s on a career-high mark now of 117 and you could argue he should be a little bit higher on some form lines.
“We are the highest-rated in the race and he deserves to be favourite provided the rain stays away. He’s very effective on fast ground.”
Last year’s second Quest For More has finished placed on both starts this season and can be backed at 9-1 to secure a first Group-race success.
Aidan O’Brien saddles the only three-year-old in the line-up in the shape of Sword Fighter, who is bidding to complete a hat-trick after wins in the Queen’s Vase and the Curragh Cup.
Sword Fighter is the 7-1 co-second-favourite along with Pallasator, who was an unlucky-in-running fourth at Sandown last time, and Curbyourenthusiasm who has a progressive profile and ran his best race yet when runner-up in the Yorkshire Cup.
A small but select field of five have been declared for the Richmond Stakes, a Group 2 race for juveniles.
Mehmas and Intelligence Cross, who fought out the July Stakes at Newmarket last time, will do battle again, while Ardad, a disappointment in the same race, will attempt to bounce back to the sort of form he showed when running out a wide-margin winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The exciting and unbeaten Blue Point adds further intrigue, while maiden winner Waqaas completes the field.