On a splendid late spring evening in Esher, Big Orange was greeted to a rapturous applause as he made his way back into the winners’ enclosure following his win in the Group 3 Henry II Stakes.

As is his wont, the six-year-old jumped from the stalls and immediately to the front under Frankie Dettori, both allowed an easy lead.

Setting an even pace throughout, the duo began to quicken things up after they turned into the home straight.

A few lengths clear of his nearest challenger Higher Power he kept on rolling on the front end.

With nothing else threatening from in behind, Big Orange galloped clear in the final furlong to win by a comfortable five-lengths.

The son of Duke Of Marmalade made a pleasing seasonal return back in March at Meydan, when finishing a close-up fourth in the Dubai Gold Cup behind Vazirabad.

“I’ve rode him a couple of times and I’m beginning to know him now,” reflected Dettori.

“I thought at Meydan it was a great effort on wet ground it rained on the day and I was a bit cautious about it.

“I knew that it would take a good one to get near me or past me, he’s as brave as a lion and conditions were there to suit.”

Clearly in fine fettle, the gelding is now a general 10/1 shot for next month’s Ascot Gold Cup, a race he is yet to compete in.

Brigadier Gerard Stakes
Although without the highly-promising So Mi Dar, this year’s renewal of the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes produced a pulsating finish which saw Sir Michael Stoute’s Autocratic come out on top.

Chain Of Daisies, Henry Candy’s mare, took her six rivals along in the early stages with Autocratic under Ryan Moore waited with in mid-division.

He’s as brave as a lion

Into the straight Newmarket winner Steel Of Madrid loomed up travelling well whilst the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Verdon looked to start a challenge towards the outside.

The former got to the front inside the final furlong but Autocratic was switched out from in behind and came with a sustained run.

Cheveley Park’s colt lead in the final 150 yards and held off a late thrust from Algometer to win by a length and a quarter.