Few in Australian breeding and racing, if any, have had wider involvement than Graham Orr, the sole owner of the promising Gerald Ryan trained 3-year-old Exceed and Excel gelding who came along the rails from tenth into the straight to score over 1500m on a heavy Rosehill Gardens track on Saturday.
Since he first became a servant of the thoroughbred industry as a horseman at Lionel Israel’s Segenhoe stud near Scone, Graham has contributed as a staff member of bloodstock sales companies in Sydney (Inglis) and Brisbane, stints followed by bloodstock media involvement, launching of racing syndications, racing management, including Gerry Harvey’s Baramul Stud collection, general consultancy and in the last two years organising overseas thoroughbred tours.
For the second successive year, one of the groups of Australians attending this week’s Royal Ascot carnival are on a tour organised by Graham and Geoff Richardson under GG Racing Tours. The enthusiastic response for these tours has seen them plan a new one for October which will enjoy ten days and eleven nights in France.
The centrepiece will be attendance at the two successive days of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe carnival at magnificent Longchamp racecourse, one which held its first meeting in 1857. Spectators included The Emperor Napoleon 111 and his wife Eugenie.
Recognised as one of the world’s most prestigious races, the 2400metre Prix, de l’Arc de Triomphe was run for the first time in 1920, a year it was won by Comrade, a Bachelor’s Double 3-year-old ridden by Australian Frank Bullock. He won the 1905 Melbourne Cup on Blue Spec.
Both George Moore (Saint Crespin) and his son Gary (Gold River) were successful in the Arc.
Fourth placegetter in the 2005 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and then winner of the American Breeders’ Cup Turf was the German bred Shirocco (Monsun – So Sedulous, by The Minstrel). Earlier winner of the German Derby, Shirocco is a brother to two German Derby placegetters and from a half-sister to Cavallina (by the Nureyev sire Theatrical), the dam of Graham Orr’s horse Australian Star.
Sire in his first crop of 3-year-olds in 2011 of Group 2 winners Arrigo (Group 1 second) and Grand Vent and also Ibicenco (second Prix Von Europa) and Brown Panther (won Royal Ascot King George Stakes – non stakes race - by six lengths, second English St Leger, fifth German Derby), Shirocco stands at Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud at Newmarket in England. Dalham Hall is also home for Australian Star’s sire Exceed and Excel when he visits from Darley, Hunter Valley for northern hemisphere use.
Although he was no match for the winner Frankel when runner up in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot this week, Excelebration, an Ireland foaled son of Exceed and Excel, is one of the best milers in Europe.
Graham Orr has only raced a small number of horses, but he has syndicated some good ones, including Saxon, Stormhill, Bel Danoro, Roanoke and Grand Success. Also in his youth he got satisfaction helping grow and prepare for Lionel Israel at Segenhoe the subsequent Group 1 stars Gossiper, Runyon and Egyptian.