Michael Bell felt Big Orange ran a good race in the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday, all things considered.
The five-year-old was unable to get to the lead and use the forceful tactics that have proved so successful in the past.
However, he was never far off the pace and had to settle for 10th place after finishing fifth 12 months earlier.
Big Orange returns to Bell’s Newmarket base next week and, provided all is well, the horse is likely to be prepared for another trip to Meydan, where he was second in the Dubai Gold Cup in March.
“He’s fine after the race. He’s just doing light exercise in Melbourne and he’s due back next week,” said Bell.
“I think, on reflection, from our horse’s point of view it was a messy race.
“They went fast and furious and all the horses that went by him all finished well out the back.
“Given the way the race was run and the fact he was conceding weight all round meant he had a tough time of it.
“We were giving the winner 11lb and he was the local horse I named as the danger.
“It was a tough ask anyway going all that way and meeting some well-handicapped horses and according to the handicapper he ran to a rating of 114 which was the third best figure in the race.
“Although he only finished 10th, bearing in mind it was a handicap, he didn’t run a bad race at all.
“As things stand, Dubai is the plan but I will talk to the Gredleys (owners) and subject to how the horse is on his return.”