Orpen’s Summer Strike!

Senior readers will remember the high-c;lass War Artist

Few stallions standing outside of South Africa have had better strike rates in this country than the late Orpen, and the son of Lure made his presence felt again this weekend at Turffontein.

Orpen mare Posera is the dam of Saturday’s Gr1 Betway Summer Cup winner Puerto Manzano (Seek Again), who picked up the biggest win of his career when victorious in the R2,5 million Highveld flagship.

Puerto Manzano (Keagan de Melo) powers home ahead of Safe Passage (Muzi Yeni) to win the big one (Pic – JC Photos)

Puerto Manzano is the second Gr1 winner for Posera, who  also produced Argentine champion Puerto Real (Pure Prize).

Posera’s sire Orpen was a top-class two-year-old, winning both of his starts including the Gr1 Prix Morny.

The son of dual Gr1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Lure failed to win again after his two-year-old career. However, he went on to make a considerable mark as a stallion, in a career which saw Orpen, who, unlike his sire, proved very fertile, stand in South America, Australia, Ireland and France. His more than 20 Gr1 winners included French 1000 Guineas heroine Torrestrella, Gr1 Cheveley Park Stakes queen Vorda, Argentine Horse Of The Year Lingote De Oro, French 2000 Guineas runner up Prestige Vendome and Craven Stakes winner Killybegs.

The top-class Orpen

At the time of his death, Orpen had been responsible for more than 100 stakes winners, and had been represented by 12 champions.

Orpen, who came from the same female line as Danehill, Machiavellian and Northern Dancer as well as highly successful South African broodmare Daphne Donnelly, was only represented by a handful of runners here , but enjoyed tremendous success nonetheless.

Orpen’s first son to hit it big in South Africa was Australian bred gelding War Artist. The latter, who was produced by the Brocco mare Royal Solitaire, raced just six times here, with his four local wins headed by the 2007 Gr1 Mercury Sprint, where he beat champion sprinters Rebel King and Mythical Flight into second and third place, respectively.

War Artist went on to enjoy notable success when exported, with the son of Orpen winning group/graded races in all of Dubai, France and Germany.

He also ran third in the 2007 Gr1 Darley July Cup in Britain, when finishing in front of such notable gallopers as Astronomer Royal (French 2000 Guineas), Kingsgate Native (Nunthorpe Stakes) and Benbaun (Prix de l’Abbaye).

International performer War Artist

Orpen again made his mark in South Africa in 2008 when his son Rocks Off won two of his three starts, including the Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes, before being named Equus Champion 2YO Colt/Gelding of 2008.

The Argentinian-bred Rocks Off hailed from the same crop which produced Orpen’s top-class son Private Jet. The latter made just ten starts but peaked when downing a star studded field to win the 2009 Gr1 Computaform Sprint, where he accounted for all of Rebel King, Warm White Night and Ethereal Lady.

Yet another smart South African performer sired by Orpen was Norquinco, who won six of 20 starts including the 2010 Gr3 Jubilee Handicap, while the Orpen sired Kay Tee Perry finished second in the 2021 Listed Spook Express Handicap. Another Orpen daughter, She’s So Cold, is dam of Listed Wolf Power 1600 runner up Stone Cold and eye catching debut winner Rockets Red Glare among others.

Puerto Manzano is by no means the only top-level winner whose dam was sired by Orpen, with others including Robert Bruce (Arlington Million), Giofra (Falmouth Stakes), and Doctor Doom (Spring Champion Stakes).

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