Impatient fans of War Affair will have to cool their heels a little longer after his name was out of the list of entries for this Sunday’s Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m).
The $200,000 Group 3 race was pencilled in as a possible comeback race for the 2014 Singapore Horse of the Year since his last race when he ran second to Quechua in last year’s Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m). But even after a brilliant second in a barrier trial last Tuesday, trainer Bruce Marsh still sat on the fence when it came to giving a definitive answer.
The Kiwi handler gave himself a couple of days to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to opt out over the weekend.
Much to the chagrin of his cult following, but the good news is there is nothing wrong with the O’Reilly six-year-old and the non-appearance was just a rescheduling of his return.
“It’s such a hard race. He’s a lovely old lazy horse and I thought he was not quite ready for such a race over 1400m, because he would get so competitive and it could hurt him,” explained Marsh.
“He actually pulled up very well after his trial, don’t worry about that. It’s the race I was more concerned about and it’s also too big a break for him to come back with only one trial.
“He did some pacework this morning and worked very well. Danny (Beasley) was very happy with him. He will gallop this Saturday.
“The (Group 1 Panasonic) Kranji Mile (on October 9) is still the race we have in mind for him but we have to find another lead-up race for him.
“We have a couple of options and the first one I have in mind is the Kranji Stakes A race over 1200m next Friday on September 9.”
After a long time on the sidelines due to fitness concerns, the multiple Group 1 winner is gearing up for his new handler (previously prepared by Alwin Tan) towards his main campaign this time in, the Singapore Triple Crown Series which kicks off with the Kranji Mile.
The 14-time winner of more than $2.7 million stakes contested the famed series in 2014, notching up the first two Legs, the Kranji Mile and the Group 1 Raffles Cup before stumbling at the last hurdle, the Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup (2200m). -STC