Big Orange lands the Gold Cup
Winning jockey Doyle thanks Italian star Dettori for the Royal Ascot showpiece victory
BIG ORANGE held off a late charge by defending champion Order Of St George to win a thrilling edition of the Gold Cup, the feature race of Royal Ascot, on Thursday.
The winning jockey James Doyle took the plaudits for a superb ride, but his heart went out to Italian star Frankie Dettori, who should have been riding Big Orange but for an injured arm that ruled him out of the meeting.
"Unfortunately, Frankie couldn't have got the injury at a worse time," said Doyle.
"Frankie's a real star. He called me a couple of nights ago and I was probably on the phone for about 20 minutes getting instructions and him telling me all about the horse. He was spot on.
"You can't do it without the help of everyone. Frankie said to me, 'whatever you do, don't interfere with him'.
"I had Frankie's voice in my head as I just eased him out and let him go to the front and the rest was history."
Order Of St George looked set to record successive wins as he gained and gained on the long-time pacesetter Big Orange, but Doyle just managed to keep his nose in front as they hit the line.
"This horse is as tough as they get," said Doyle after pulling his ride up to return to the winners' enclosure for the second time this week.
Big Orange's trainer, Michael Bell, said his heart had been in his mouth as Order of St George gained on his runner at the end of the near two-and-a-half mile (4,000m) race.
"I was just praying for the line and begging for the line to come," said Bell.
"The horse is a superstar - he's a warrior. That's his eighth Pattern (Group/Listed) win and we're extremely lucky to train him." - AFP