Drakenstein Stud’s red hot sire Duke Of Marmalade was back in the news on Thursday when he had a remarkable Group race double at Goodwood.
His son Big Orange (G2 Qatar Goodwood Cup) and daughter Simple Verse (G3 Markel Insurance Fillies Stakes) provided their sire with his eighth and ninth stakes wins for 2015.
Duke Of Marmalade’s previous black type winners in 2015 include G1 Deutsches Derby winner Nutan, G1 French Oaks heroine Star Of Seville and Italian 1000 Guineas heroine Sound Of Freedom.
The Michael Bell trained Big Orange made it two group race wins in a row when scoring a courageous win in the Goodwood Cup, one of the oldest and most prestigious Cup races run in Britain.
The four-year-old, who had won the G2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket last time out, fought on bravely in a thrilling three horse finish to prevail by a neck over Quest For More with recent G1 Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris back in third.
Winning jockey Jamie Spencer was impressed by his mount’s courage, saying in a post-race interview, “He’s very tough and honest and loves this ground.
“Silvestre (on Vive Ma Fille) was frying me early on and I was worried I was expending too much, but he was tough when I needed him to be. He can only get stronger as the year goes on.
“We got racing three out and I brought my fella into the centre of the track.
“George (Baker, on the runner-up) came to me and it was a good fight but my lad pulled out a little bit more. I heard Graham Lee coming on the inside too but Big Orange is tough.
“The only thing that would have made it better would have been (the late) Sir Peter O’Sullvevan calling it.”
Trainer Michael Bell was equally enthused about his charge’s gutsy win. Bell said of Big Orange, “He is an absolute star, this horse. He’s so genuine and is a pleasure to train. I can’t sing his praises highly enough.
“He was officially the highest-rated horse in the race so if he stayed, he could win it and Jamie gave him an absolutely masterful ride. He just got a breather into him, it was a very good ride and a very good horse. I’m thrilled.”
Now a five time winner (four of his wins coming in Group/Listed races) Big Orange looks likely to be aimed at the G1 Melbourne Cup in November.
Duke Of Marmalade’s second Group winner on Thursday came in the form of lightly raced filly Simple Verse, who made it three wins from just six outings when saluting in the G3 Markel Insurance Fillies Stake by a length and a half.
The Ralph Beckett trained sophomore, who was winning the first Group race of her career, was well ridden by Harry Bentley who produced Simple Verse with a furlong to go. The pair kept galloping resolutely to the line with Simple Verse prevailing by a length and a half from Hidden Gold.
The Park Hill Stakes (known as the fillies St Leger) could be next for the owned filly, while a tilt at the St Leger has not been ruled out.
Bred on the potent Danehill/Sadler’s Wells cross, Simple Verse has now won three of her last four outings and looks yet another exciting prospect for her magnificent sire.
Goodwood could well get even more Glorious for Duke Of Marmalade with his G1 Prix De Diane winning daughter Star Of Seville set to contest the G1 Qatar Nassau Stakes on Saturday.