ASCOT, England (AP) — Big Orange won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot by fending off Order Of St George in a thrilling sprint to the post to edge home by a short head on Thursday.
"It was an epic race," said winning trainer Michael Bell after the most prestigious race of the five-day meeting, which was attended by Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family just outside London.
Ridden by James Doyle in the absence of the injured Frankie Dettori, Big Orange — a 5-1 shot — disputed the early lead in the Group 1 race then made all the running until a late challenge by 5-6 favorite Order Of St George in the final half-furlong.
"Frankie's a real star," Doyle said. "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.
"Frankie said to me, 'Whatever you do, don't interfere with him. He knows what speed he wants to go at and you just sit as a passenger.' 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."
Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien and his top jockey, Ryan Moore, collected a winner for the second straight day when Sioux Nation won the Norfolk Stakes at odds of 14-1.