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Dettori squeezes plenty out of Big Orange at Sandown

25 May 2017

Dual Goodwood Cup winner makes all the running for comfortable win in the Henry II Stakes

Dettori salutes before the line as Big Orange wins in style at Sandown. Picture:

Frankie Dettori believes Big Orange is capable of a bold show in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next month after guiding the popular stayer to a runaway success in the Matchbook VIP Henry II Stakes at Sandown on Thursday evening.

Dettori made all the running on the Michael Bell-trained six-year-old and gradually the pair got their rivals out of their comfort zone.

At the finish Big Orange had five lengths to spare over Higher Power.

Dettori, winning the race for the sixth time, was all smiles, performing his traditional flying dismount in the paddock afterwards.

He is now looking forward to riding the dual Goodwood Cup winner at Ascot in the QIPCO British Champions Series feature.

“I’ve ridden him a couple of times and am getting to know him now,” Dettori said. “We went an even gallop throughout, I picked it up at the top of the straight and I knew it would take a good one to get past me. He’s as brave as a lion.

“I told Michael if he runs like that in the Gold Cup he’d be in the first three, he’d be racing better horses but on that performance he’s entitled to be in the Gold Cup. He stays and he likes fast ground, it’s very rare you get a wet Royal Ascot.”

He added: “It’s nice to see old boys like him performing year after year, it’s great. He’s been around a while and like Persian Punch he wears his heart on his sleeve and that’s what racegoers want to see.”

On Friday, Order Of St George, winner of the Gold Cup last year, takes another step towards his defence with a by running in the Seamus & Rosemary McGrath Memorial Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown. He faces four rivals.