The Michael Bell-trained Big Orange produced an impressive performance at Sandown on Thursday evening to land the Group Two Henry II Stakes under new jockey Frankie Dettori to set up a tilt at the Ascot Gold Cup at the Royal meeting in June.
Sent straight into the lead in his usual fashion by Dettori, the imposing six-year-old son of Duke Of Marmalade started to stretch out the field from the three-furlong pole and he was not for catching as he stayed on relentlessly to score very easily by five lengths.
James Fanshawe’s unexposed Higher Power ran a mighty race to finish second with a further two lengths back to Ralph Beckett’s She Is No Lady in third.
This was a very impressive performance from the powerful gelding who looked well in the parade ring before the race and bounced off the fast ground.
Michael Bell was delighted with the run and outlined Ascot as the next port of call for his stable star who is a general 16/1 shot for the two mile and five furlong event. He said:
He needs fast ground. He is such a good mover, and he has such an enormous stride. He is a relentless galloper and really covers the ground. If it is soft ground he just wheel spins.
If something wants to sit in front of him they are committing suicide. If something wants to lead him they are probably not going to stay there.
Also on the card, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Autocratic took the feature race of the evening, the Group Two Brigadier Gerard Stakes under a fine ride by Ryan Moore.