Sometimes in betting it’s wise not to avoid the obvious and there are genuinely good things. That is certainly the case with Big Orange and the Goodwood Cup. The first-day feature of Glorious Goodwood or the Qatar Goodwood Festival as its now called looks like a penalty kick for the Ascot Gold Cup winner.
Big Orange’s task has been made so much easier by the absence of Order Of St George. That Aidan O’Brien trained animal won the Gold Cup last year but succumbed to Big Orange in this year’s renewal. It was nip and tuck in the final furlong but Big Orange battled to the line to outstay Order Of St George.
The margin of victory for Big Orange was a short head off level weights and that form alone makes the horse a standout bet in the two-mile contest at the Sussex track. Order Of St George was third in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and no horse running in the Goodwood Cup other than Big Orange has produced any form near that level.
The Arc is run over 12 furlongs and is the European championship race for middle distance horses. The Goodwood staying race attracts a different type of animal and its rare for a Cup horse to take part. Finishing within four lengths of Found and Highland Reel shows Order Of St George can be competitive at the highest level.
Goodwood is an idiosyncratic track and can produce some freak results. The nature of the course means horses can lose a race through bad luck and some runners do not take to the nature of the test. Big Orange has won the last two running’s of the Goodwood Cup so is clearly suited to the track. The horse is the course and distance pick and should confirm favouritism by a number of lengths.
Simple Verse won the St Leger is 2015, lost the race in the Steward’s office on the day but was declared the winner again after a further enquiry. That means the horse is a Classic winner but does not have the form or ratings to beat the favourite. Big Orange can be backed at around Even money to complete the hat-trick. The selection has about six pounds in hand over Simple Verse whose run in the Gold Cup was too bad to be true.
US Army Ranger was a potential superstar even amongst O’Brien’s bluebloods. The horse was once the favourite for the Derby but things have not worked out so well. The trainer is going down the staying route but his horse is too far behind Big Orange on past efforts to trouble or beat the favourite.
Favourite backers have often been stung when all the evidence suggests the shortest priced horse cannot be opposed. Enable was a good thing at Ascot last Saturday and the filly delivered in impressive style. Big Orange has strong claims to do something similar and the clear form pick must be backed to win the Goodwood Cup once more.