With something of a pre-Breeders’ Cup World Championships lull in many racing jurisdictions, the star of the most recent weekend, as far as the Northern Hemisphere is concerned was Orfevre, who became only the seventh horse to sweep the Japanese Triple Crown after taking the Kikuka Sho (Jpn-I)—the Japanese St. Leger—by five lengths in a near race-record time.
A winner first time out at 2, Orfevre ran twice more as a juvenile, taking second in the Fuyo Stakes (a stakes race in Japan, but not a black-type event by international cataloging standards) and was unplaced in the Keio Hai Nisai Stakes (Jpn-II). This year, Orfevre was beaten in his first two starts, taking second in the Nikkan Sports Sho Shinzan Kinen (Jpn-III) and third in the Kisaragi Sho (Jpn-III). He regained the winning thread in his final classic trial, the Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes (Jpn-II), and since then has been undefeated adding the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas, Jpn-I), the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, Jpn-I), and his St. Leger prep, the Kobe Shimbun Hai (Jpn-II).
Like the most recent previous Japan Triple Crown hero, Deep Impact, Orfevre is a Sunday Silence line horse. His sire, Stay Gold (a son of Sunday Silence), never won a grade I race in Japan, but as a 7-year-old defeated Fantastic Light and Silvano in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-II) in the spring. In December of the same season, Stay Gold ended his career with a triumph in the Hong Kong Vase (HK-I).