BIG Orange led from the off in the Gr2 Goodwood Cup on Thursday, becoming the first back-to-back winner of the race since Double Trigger in 1997 and ’98.

The race took place in wet and gloomy conditions, and jockey Jamie Spencer rode a well-judged race, booting the 11-4 favourite and defending champion home ahead of Pallasator in second and Sheikhzayedroad in third.

Trained by Michael Bell, five-year-old Big Orange won by over a length, finding extra when he came under pressure, and Spencer commented: “He wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s a big strong galloper and he’s got stronger since last year and can sustain top speed. I always wanted to be leading or sat second, but he got on with it and put them to the sword.”

Big Orange, who continues to improve with age, ran a cracker in last year’s Melbourne Cup, and his fans are hoping he might go back to Australia to try to become the first UK winner in November.

Big Orange is a son of Duke Of Marmalade, who stands in South Africa at Drakenstein Stud. Yearlings from his first local crop will go to various auctions in 2017.

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