Royal Ascot 2017: Big Orange wins Gold Cup epic from Order Of St George

Big Orange beats Order Of S
Only a short head separated Big Orange and Order Of St George after two-and-a-half miles

Big Orange pipped last year's victor Order Of St George by a short head in an epic finish to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The 5-1 winner, ridden by James Doyle for trainer Michael Bell, held on for a memorable triumph after a gripping battle in the final furlong.

Order Of St George, under Ryan Moore, kept on closing but the 5-6 favourite just failed to give trainer Aidan O'Brien an eighth win in the race.

The 33-1 chance Harbour Law was third.

Later, there was a first Royal Ascot triumph for an offspring of the legendary racehorse Frankel as Atty Persse won the King George V Stakes.

Big Orange triumphs in Gold Cup thriller

Doyle, standing in for the injured Frankie Dettori, made most of the running and said Dettori had given him plenty of advice.

"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."

Bell added: "It was an epic race. I can't describe the feeling of pride I have in my horse.

"I was just begging for the line to come. The horse is a superstar - he's a warrior."

James Doyle
Doyle came in for the ride on Big Orange after Dettori was ruled out with a shoulder injury on Tuesday

Analysis

BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght:

It started with his name and continued with his race record.

From early on, people spotted, and liked, the name - he got it as a result of being a son of Duke Of Marmalade - and then came the results, and the manner of achieving them.

A front runner, he's best when toughing it out - the expression "wears his heart on his sleeve" is often used - and in winning nine races, including the Goodwood Cup twice, he's had to do just that.

His stamina had never been tested over so far before today, and he definitely looked weary late on, but that was probably loneliness: when the runner-up appeared he found more.

Another terrific horse-race for the Gold Cup.

Landmark win for sire Frankel

Atty Persse (7-1), named after a former British champion trainer, was ridden superbly by young jockey Kieran Shoemark for trainer Roger Charlton to secure Frankel's first win as a sire at the Royal meeting.

It was a fifth win of the week for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin team who enjoyed a one-two in this race, with First Nation finishing second.

Frankel triumphed in all 14 of his races during a stellar career, including two victories at Royal Ascot.

He won his final contest at the Berkshire course in October 2012 before being retired for a breeding career where he commands a stud fee of £125,000 a time.

Kieran Shomark celebrates on Atty Persse
"His agent says he's the next Ryan Moore (three-time champion jockey)" - Charlton on Shoemark

Earlier on day three the 9-2 chance Benbatl took the Hampton Court Stakes for Godolphin, who had an opening-day treble but it was a first win of the 2017 fixture for their trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

And it was a first victory at the Royal meeting for delighted jockey Oisin Murphy, who punched the air and said: "This means the world to me. It's absolute elation."

Runner-up Orderofthegarter and third-placed Mirage Dancer also ran well behind the victor, who was fifth earlier this month in the Derby at Epsom won by Wings Of Eagles.

Coronet conquers at Ascot

Coronet swooped under Olivier Peslier to win the Ribblesdale Stakes for trainer John Gosden.

The Sky Is Blazing had blazed a trail, opening a big lead early in the race, but his rivals pounced in the closing stages.

Hertford Dancer, who eventually finished third, mounted a challenge and then another son of Frankel - Mori - looked set to prevail before being overhauled by the grey Coronet (9-1).

Coronet wins at Royal Ascot
Coronet's odds for the St Leger later in the season were cut to 12-1 from 25-1

Winners for the prolific pair of trainer Aidan O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore rarely go off at big prices but 14-1 chance Sioux Nation obliged for the duo in the opening Norfolk Stakes.

Despite horses drawn high being favoured earlier in the week, Moore's mount powered clear from stall two in the five-furlong dash.

Sioux Nation dug deep as 13-2 favourite Santry - on the other side of the track - finished fast and held on by half a length.

Jockey Jamie Spencer secured his second win of Royal Ascot 2017, in the Britannia Stakes on 25-1 chance Bless Him.

Bless Him, trained by David Simcock, beat runner-up Ronald R as Bell's hopes of a double were foiled after Big Orange's earlier triumph.

A crowd of 68,320 attended Ladies Day - nearly 4,000 up on last year after the opening of the new Village Enclosure
A crowd of 68,320 attended Ladies Day - nearly 4,000 up on last year after the opening of the new Village Enclosure

Highlights on Friday

Fillies take centre stage on the fourth day of the meeting with the Coronation Stakes (16:20 BST) over a mile.

Winter, winner of the English and Irish 1000 Guineas, is set to start odds-on favourite for Irish trainer O'Brien.

He also saddles Roly Poly and Hydrangea, who were second and third behind Winter in the Irish Guineas at the Curragh last month.

The home team is headed by by the John Gosden-trained Dabya, while Mark Casse's American challenger La Coronel and Fabrice Chappet's shock French 1000 Guineas winner Precieuse add an international flavour.

Last year's Coventry Stakes winner Caravaggio returns in the Commonwealth Cup (15:40) for O'Brien.

The unbeaten colt's rivals will include the Godolphin pair of Harry Angel and Blue Point.

There are two runners owned by the Queen as she seeks her first winner of the week - Call To Mind, in the King Edward VII Stakes (15:05) and Mainstream in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes (17:35).

Schedule

(All times BST, distances in miles and furlongs):

14:30: Albany Stakes (Group 3) 6f

15:05: King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 1½m

15:40: Commonwealth Cup (Group 1) 6f

16:20: Coronation Stakes (Group 1) 1m

17:00: Queen's Vase (Group 2) 2m

17:35: Duke of Edinburgh Stakes 1½m

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