There are no guarantees in this business, although it is remarkable just how often export or death precedes a sudden leap forward in a stallion's profile.
Duke Of Marmalade (by Danehill) was triple Group 1-placed as a three-year-old, a top-class middle-distance runner as an older horse, and his pedigree made him an exciting prospect when he retired to Coolmore Stud. A son of one of the world's most influential stallions, he comes from the famous sire-producing family of stars such as A.P. Indy (by Seattle Slew), Al Mufti (by Roberto), Summer Squall (by Storm Bird), and Lemon Drop Kid (by Kingmambo). How could he fail to get at least a few Group 1-winning offspring?
His early results would have been very good for most stallions, a string of stakes and pattern winners, some of whom were making the frame in the highest grade. But nothing won beyond Group 3 level and so the inevitable happened.
Off he goes, up pops a Group 2 scorer in Australia, and then the 2015 season features Group 1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) victory for Star Of Seville, Group 1 Deutsches Derby success for Nutan, and wins in both the Group 1 St Leger and Group 1 Qipco British Champions Fillies/Mare Stakes for Simple Verse.
His final Irish-conceived crop are juveniles, and Europe's loss is South Africa's gain. He is heading into his third season at Drakenstein Stud.
Duke Of Marmalade's notable results last year also featured a pair of Group 2 wins for Big Orange. The Michael Bell-trained gelding had won a couple of listed contests as a three-year-old, was beaten by 25 lengths and by 42 lengths in his first two outings at four, and then sprang a 25/1 shock in the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket.
That half-length defeat of Second Step was followed three weeks later with a neck victory in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup, and three months later he was beaten by only two and a half lengths when fifth behind Prince Of Penzance in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
He kicked off his latest campaign with a neck defeat by Vazirabad in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup over two miles at Meydan in late March, was a little disappointing when a nine-lengths third behind Exosphere in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket a month later, but then bounced back on the July course this afternoon for an impressive repeat success in the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes.
He holds entries in the Group 2 Qatar Goodwood Cup and in the Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger, and his presence cannot be ignored in any good race from 12 furlongs to two miles.
Big Orange was bred by Stetchworth & Middle Park Studs, he is the second foal out of a mile all-weather winner called Miss Brown To You (by Fasliyev), and his older half-sister, Empowermentofwomen (by Manduro) won an eight and a half furlong contest at Wolverhampton in February of her three-year-old season. She is now at stud and had a Choisir (by Danehill Dancer) filly last year, while her dam has a juvenile colt named Stormy Blues (by Sepoy) and had a Poet's Voice (by Dubawi) filly in 2015.
Miss Brown To You is a half-sister to the pattern-winning sprinter Almaty (by Dancing Dissident), but also to the top-class international performer Military Attack (by Oratorio), who was known as Rave when winning at Newmarket and twice at Ascot in 2011. That dual 10-furlong Grade 1 scorer has earned the equivalent of just over £4.9 million and was last seen in action when out of the frame in the Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup over 12 furlongs at Sha Tin in May.
That earnings total is impressive, but his 'nephew' Red Cadeaux (by Cadeaux Genereux) was just short of the £5 million mark at the time of his tragic death. That popular Ed Dunlop-trained gelding won the Grade 1 Hong Kong Vase, Group 2 Yorkshire Cup and Group 3 Curragh Cup, but he was second or third a total of 20 times, many of those placings coming in major events around the world. He was, for example, the horse who chased home Animal Kingdom in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup, and he was three times a runner-up in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup, beaten just a nose by Dunaden in the 2011 edition of that famous two-mile contest.
His dam Artisia (by Peintre Celebre) is slightly closer than just a half-sister to Miss Brown To You as both are by sons of Nureyev (by Northern Dancer).
Almaaseh (by Dancing Brave), the grandam of Big Orange, was only placed, and her siblings include an unraced half-sister, Gmaasha (by Kris), who is the dam of Group 1 scorer Gladiatorus (by Silic) and of Group 3 Premio Regina Elena (Italian 1000 Guineas) winner My Sweet Baby (by Minardi).
She is also a half-sister to the Group 1 Coronation Stakes runner-up and Phoenix Park listed scorer Hasbah (by Kris), who is a blacktype producer at stud, to Group 2 Challenge Stakes scorer Munir (by Indian Ridge), and to one-time winner Alyakkh (by Sadler's Wells), who is the dam of two listed race winners and grandam of four other blacktype scorers.
The most notable of Almaaseh's siblings, however, is Haafhd (by Alhaarth), champion three-year-old of 2004 when he added the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket to his earlier win in the Group 1 2000 Guineas. He also won the Group 3 Craven Stakes, he stands at Beechwood Grange Stud, and his double-digit tally of stakes-winning progeny includes the Group 2 scorers Junoob, Noble Protector and Silver Grecian.
As will be obvious from the identity of these relations, the third dam of Big Orange is the classic-winning miler Al Bahathri (by Blushing Groom).
Her prolific half-sister Geraldine's Store (by Exclusive Native) was a Grade 1-placed Grade 2 scorer, and her unraced half-sister Bloudan (by Damascus) is the dam of Group 2 winner Radevore (by Generous), grandam of Group 3 scorer Lateen Sails (by Elmaamul) and third dam of the smart Richard Pankhurst (by Raven's Pass).
Al Bahathri was also a half-sister to Peplum (by Nijinsky), who won the Listed Cheshire Oaks and was third in the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes, and that filly went on to become the grandam of the Grade 2 scorers Aviate (by Dansili) and Jibboom (by Mizzen Mast) and of Group 1-placed pattern winner Early March (by Dansili).
Arguably the most interesting of Al Bahathri's siblings, however, is her unraced full-sister Chain Fern, because it is she who gave us the ill-fated Grade 1 star Spanish Fern (by El Gran Senor) and from whom the Group/Grade 1 winners Lord Shanakill (by Speightstown), Together Forever (by Galileo), Heatseeker (by Giant's Causeway) and Hearts Of Fire (by Firebreak) descend.
The first-named of that quartet was in the news recently as his son My Dream Boat won the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot. Big Orange, of course, cannot have a stud career, but if he stays sound, happy and healthy then it is reasonable to think that he could become the next seven-figured earner in this famous family.