Big Orange hits the shops as Bell star continues Dubai preparation
Michael Bell turned the clock back in Newmarket on Saturday morning when taking his string including stable star Big Orange right up the bustling high street, a custom that died out nearly a century ago.
Until the onset of the car, all trainers had to use the Cambridge to Bury thoroughfare to get their horses across town, on this occasion to access the Long Hill Polytrack gallop on account of the horsewalk on Rowley Drive being unsafe.
Ridden by his lad Twyron Lloyd-Jones, last year's Ascot Gold Cup winner enjoyed his short cut past Greggs and WH Smith before stepping out for his latest exercise ahead of his intended reappearance in Dubai on March 31.
The seven-year-old is on course to make his third consecutive appearance in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan, a two-mile contest in which he fared best when runner-up to old rival Vazirabad in 2016.
Big Orange managed only fourth in the Dubai Gold Cup a year ago but has had a less busy winter this time around and could reap the benefit.
"There's no problem as there's a right of way for horses in Newmarket and we don't even stop if someone presses the button on the pelican crossing. People are very good about it, though, and most are happy just to see the spectacle of bringing horses back to the middle of the town."
Big Orange is a general 6-1 chance for his Meydan return where he may well face a third rematch with Vazirabad as well as tackle rising star Rare Rhythm, the pair finishing first and second in the Group 3 Nad El Sheba Trophy at the track last Thursday.
Owner Bill Gredley was on hand to watch his star in action and said: "Big Orange is looking better than ever and worked well despite the conditions. It's all systems go for Dubai."
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