War Affair one gallop away from NZ debut in G2 race

Former Singapore Horse of the Year War Affair is gearing up for a possible tilt at a New Zealand racing debut at the age of eight next Saturday week.

The Bruce Marsh-trained $3 million earner was sent to Trelawney Stud, his place of birth, in Cambridge last November for a six-month spell in a bid to fix the well-documented wind issues that have been hampering the multiple Group winner’s racing career last year.

While the Ong family and Marsh had not really planned for the son of O’Reilly to resurrect his racing career in New Zealand, they started toying with the idea when he came through the spell so well and was soon sent to Marsh’s son Stephen’s yard.

War Affair (Danny Beasley, purple silks, white sleeves) dead-heating with Storm Troops (Nooresh Juglall, 
red cap) in the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes (1400m) on May 14, 2017, picture Singapore Turf Club

The Group 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on August 18 has been locked away as his target comeback race, even if Marsh Snr said nothing has been cast in stone yet.

“The old boy’s very well, his wind problems seem behind him. My son said he felt like a new horse, but we’ll have to see how he gallops over the weekend before we know if he will run or not next week,” said Marsh.

“The track conditions and the overall weather will also come into play, but so far we’re happy with the way he’s come through his spell there.

“It was the first time he had a proper break from racing all his life. He had 15 acres of paddock at Trelawney, which is the home of six Melbourne Cup winners and is such a wonderful property.”

Marsh said that should he press on towards the Foxbridge, that race will be the first guide to his next career path. War Affair last raced in the Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m) on September 10, in which he ran sixth to Countofmontecristo.

“We’ll take it one race at a time. If he doesn’t come up at that race or any other race later, we will then retire him,” said Marsh who saddled War Affair to two of his 16 wins, with the remaining 14 split between Mark Walker (six) and Alwin Tan (eight), under whom he achieved his best career highlights.

“But if things go well, we may then bring him back to Singapore. We’ll just see how things go in the next few weeks.”

Besides the Foxbridge, the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), the first Leg of the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown at Hastings in September has also been pencilled in as a possible target.

War Affair was one of the most dominant racehorses at Kranji between 2013 and 2015, winning the Champion Two-Year-Old title in 2013, Singapore Horse of the Year and Champion Three-Year-Old titles in 2014, and Champion Four-Year-Old and Miler titles in 2015.