Orpen was the breeding-challenged Lure‘s best racing son, and by dint of numbers he was bound to become his sire’s best stallion son as well, which he is. But he’s also a surprisingly good stallion, period, especially at his stud-fee level, which was 6000 EUR in 2009 at Haras du Thenney in France. The stallion began his career at Coolmore, has shuttled to Australia in the past, and now shuttles to Argentina on a regular basis.
He also has several handy European 2-year-olds: Sorciere, a filly that defeated colts in the Listed 1000-meter Prix Yacowlef for highly regarded first-timers at Deauville; the colt Orpen Shadow, a Group 3 winner at San Siro over 1200 meters; Orpen Grey, a colt who ran second in the Group 2 July Stakes over six furlongs at Newmarket; and Paloma Varga, second in a Listed race at San Siro over 1500 meters.
His best 2-year-olds this year, however, are in Argentina, and they are: Malpensa, a three-time Group 1-placed runner at up to 1600 meters, also out of a Southern Halo mare; and the two 1600-meter Group 1 winners Enak and True Passion.
Orpen’s third Group 1 winner of the year is 4-year-old South African-based Private Jet, who won a 1000-meter sprint at Turffontein in April.
All of these runners are early types best at a metric mile or less, not surprising because Orpen himself was 2 for 2 at 2 and won the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville over 1200 meters. At 3, Orpen was placed in the Irish Guineas. His sire, Lure, a son of Danzig, was an outstanding sprinter/miler who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile at 3 and 4. Retired to stud at Claiborne, Lure proved to be sub-fertile.
As noted, most of the Orpens are sprinter/milers, but last year the stallion had a 2400-meter “classic” winner (no official black type) when Irish-bred Teddy Ready won the Slovakian Derby at Bratislava. Like many of his stakes winners, Teddy Ready was out of a Northern Dancer-line mare and as a result was inbred to ND. In fact, of all the pedigrees highlighted here, all except for two have Northern Dancer duplicated in the pedigree. Because Orpen’s third dam was Natalma, the dam of Northern Dancer, he was bred similarly to Danehill and was from the immediate family of Halo — sire of Southern Halo. Because Southern Halo himself was out of a Northern Dancer mare, crossing Southern Halo with Orpen creates more inbreeding to Natalma’s family.
Before this year, Orpen had sired three winners at the highest level, in Argentine-bred Rocks Off (Group1 in South Africa), Irish-bred Torrestrella (Group 1 French 1000 Guineas), and Australian-bred War Artist (Group 1s in South Africa and England). Now he’s doubled his lifetime total this year alone and has six Group 1 winners.
So far in 2009, with half a year of racing still left, Orpen is represented by 14 black type winners and five Group-placed runners around the world, including Australia and Hong Kong.
No doubt, he’s having the year of his life, but because his runners are spread around the world he’s not getting the attention he should.
(Spanish readers can view a translated copy of this artice at Turf Diario, on page 28, by clicking here.)