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Trainer Michael Bell has called time on popular stayer Big Orange’s career after an old injury flared up.

Winner of the 2017 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in a thrilling battle with Order Of St George, Big Orange also won the Goodwood Cup twice and two Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket.

He ran in the Melbourne Cup twice, finishing fifth in 2015 and 10th the following year.

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 the same problem has returned.

“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,” Bell said.

“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.

“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.”

 
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