Former Ascot Gold Cup winner Big Orange has been retired from the horse racing world. The powerful horse, who was victorious at the 2017 edition of the Ascot Gold Cup, last raced in March 2018 at the Dubai Gold Cup finishing 12th out of 16 horses. This year’s Dubai Gold Cup will take place in March and the William Hill code gives fans the chance to follow all of the build-up. Big Orange’s retirement from the race game comes with a heavy heart for trainer Michael Bell. The horse had previous suffered a leg injury and its return has led to him being put to pasture.
Big Orange – A successful career
Big Orange started his career in October 2013 with a fourth-place finish at Goodwood. By his fourth race, which took place at Lingfield in April 2014, Big Orange had recorded his first ever victory. His continued winning during that season put Big Orange on the map and many in the horse racing industry perked up every time they heard the horse’s name.
Eight more wins would follow his first in 27 starts as Bell’s horse made waves at racecourses around the world. In all, Big Orange earned £1.25 million from his 27 races. Although Big Orange raced in all corners of the globe – the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and Australia – it was his win at the Ascot Gold Cup that most will remember. The Grade 1 race was the only win in the category in which Big Orange won.
Big Orange – A winner’s legacy
Big Orange will be remembered for his win at Ascot and the emotional celebrations that ensued following the victory. His pre-Ascot win at Sandown laid down the marker for what would occur in the Gold Cup.
Unfortunately following his Ascot win, Big Orange began to regress, most likely due to the leg injury that cost him his career in the end. So successful at Goodwood, where he won the Goodwood Cup twice, Big Orange achieved second place in his Ascot follow-up race at the track.
A return to Ascot in October 2017 didn’t see the same success as in the Gold Cup as Big Orange finished 11th. Five months later, he ran to a 12th place end at the Dubai Gold Cup. The end of Big Orange’s racing career seemed to be near even then.
Although Bell and many others regard Big Orange’s Ascot Gold Cup win as his best moment, Breeder Tim Gredley believes the horse’s best day was at Goodwood in 2016. It was on that day that Big Orange won the Goodwood Cup for a second time.
Gredley’s stable Stetchworth was were Big Orange was bred and the breeder now feels the same sadness as others connected with the champion horse. According to Gredley, Big Orange will be retired to Stetchworth. There, he will live out his days in retirement luxury being pampered daily.
Despite Big Orange’s trainer stating the leg injury is minor, the horse has nothing left to prove. Rather than continue to race Big Orange and risk a more serious health issue, it is time for him to enjoy retirement.