The script was written but Frankie Dettori and Big Orange were upstaged as they attempted to make history in the Goodwood Cup on Tuesday.
Ironically, on an opening day to the Glorious Goodwood fixture packed with shocks, it was Stradivarius, trained by Dettori’s boss John Gosden, that spoiled the storyline.
He sailed past Big Orange at the furlong pole to deny the 6-4 favourite a third successive win in a race dating back to 1812 and freshly promoted to group one status.
Stradivarius, under Andrea Atzeni, wins the Qatar Goodwood Series Cup from Big Orange
He sailed past Big Orange at the furlong pole to deny the 6-4 favourite a third successive win
Big Orange, who tried to make all the running with Dettori plotting a route up the middle of the home straight in search of slightly quicker ground, was beaten a length and three-quarters with Desert Skyline, the other three-year-old in the line-up, three and a half lengths back in third.
Nothing else got into it. In any other circumstances, Dettori might have been expected to have ridden the winner but his friendship with Big Orange’s owner Bill Gredley and affinity with the gelding meant it was colleague Andrea Atzeni, who was completed 8,344-1 four-timer, on board Stradivarius.
The only consolation for Dettori and Michael Bell, Big Orange’s trainer, was that it was not a case of the six-year-old gelding fluffing his lines
He was simply unable to concede 13lb to a three-year-old which won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. Clearly on a rapid upward curve of form, Stradivarius is now disputing favouritism at 7-2 for the St Leger, the season’s final Classic. He looks a fair bet.
Bell said: ‘We know Big Orange is better on faster ground but the winner is probably a very good horse. Big Orange pulled well clear of the