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Michael Bell calls time on career of Big Orange

21 Feb 2019

The three-time Champions Series winner has run his final race

Bill Gredley with Big Orange after victory in the Gold Cup. Picture:

Michael Bell has paid tribute to Big Orange after announcing the retirement of the star stayer.

Big Orange was a leading light in the QIPCO British Champions Series, winning two renewals of the Goodwood Cup plus, memorably, a pulsating  Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2017 when he won a thrilling battle with Order Of St George.

Owned by Bill and Tim Gredley, Big Orange had been out of action since picking up an injury in the Dubai Gold Cup last March and connections have called time on his career after a recurrence of the same problem.

“He’d only been trotting and was due to be re-scanned on Monday, but we brought it forward before he started cantering and there’s a tiny bit of heat on the leg and the warning was there,” said Bell.

“It was a no-brainer really, given it had flared up just through trotting.

“He’s sound, he’s gone back to Stetchworth (Park Stud) and the Gredleys will make a decision on what he will do in retirement, but he’s got a home whatever happens. It just depends how active he is in retirement.

“He does like being involved and likes a routine, but Bill and Tim are horsemen through and through and will find something he is happy doing.”

Bell added: “The Gold Cup at Ascot is right up there with my favourite days, full stop – it was just a fantastic horse race. I’ve been very lucky to be the guy that trained him.

“Two Goodwood Cups and two Princess of Wales’s Stakes as well and for two guys who are Newmarket born and bred, winners at the July Course are particularly special.

“He gave his all, the Gredleys loved him and we’ve loved training him. He’ll leave a big hole to fill, but you feel very lucky to have these horses.

“Hopefully, with (Group One winner) Pretty Pollyanna, Bill and Tim can have a few more special days.”