Ascot Gold Cup winner Big Orange retired due to injury

Big Orange, who memorably won the 2017 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, has been retired after a leg injury flared up last week.

Big Orange, photo Liesl King

The eight-year-old was trained by Michael Bell for owners Bill and Tim Gredley and nine of his 27 career starts, collecting more than £1.25 million in prize-money.

He took his connections around the world to the UAE, Hong Kong and Australia, but his battling Gold Cup success – the only Group 1 win of his career – was his crowning moment.

Bell tweeted: "Bill & Tim Gredley have sadly had to make the decision to retire Big Orange after his leg injury flared up last week. He was an eight-time black type winner including the epic 2017 Ascot Gold Cup.

"A true equine giant in every way. Happy retirement and thank you from all at Fitzroy House Stables."

Gelded before he first hit the track, Big Orange's first win came as a three-year-old on the all-weather at Lingfield, but by the end of that campaign he had already marked himself out as a stayer of some potential following two Listed wins.

Big Orange in numbers

27 runs
9 wins
1 Group 1 win
4 Group 2 wins
£1.25m prize-money earned

He flourished as a four-year-old, showing his versatility to win the 1m4f Princess of Wales's Stakes on Newmarket's July course - his first Group 2 success - before winning the Goodwood Cup for the first time three weeks later.

Handed a near impossible draw in the Melbourne Cup, he performed admirably to finish fifth, before agonisingly being beaten on his next start in the Dubai Gold Cup by a neck.

He had more domestic Group success as a five-year-old, but his career-defining day didn't come until he was six, when he gamely fought off the late challenge of Order Of St George to win the Gold Cup.

His last run came in March when well beaten in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan.