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War trial not necessary - straight to front line
07 Oct 2016

Sunday’s leading Panasonic Kranji Mile contender War Affair (O'Reilly x Kristique) was a late scratching at the barrier trials on Tuesday, but trainer Bruce Marsh reassured there was nothing amiss with the champion galloper.


The Kiwi handler said he had actually been in two minds about trialling the Trelawney Stud graduate ahead of Sunday’s SIN$700,000 Group 1 race, but had entered him just in case, and in the end opted out.


“He’s good as gold. I felt he didn’t need the trial in the end,” said Marsh who saddled War Affair for his first win at his last start, which was the second time he ran for him. 

“He’s pulled up in great order after his last race. I would say he’s not improved further, but he hasn’t gone backward either.


“The horse is in great shape and the weight-for-age conditions will suit him.”


After a low-key return from a more than one year absence, War Affair was back to his brilliant best when he won a Kranji Stakes A race over 1400m second-up on September 25 to bring up win No 15 from 22 starts, earning one point that took his ratings to 118.


The 2014 Singapore Horse of the Year was touch-and-go for more than a year after his last run when second to Quechua in last year’s Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m) but that last win has now sprung him back in the reckoning for a second bite at the Singapore Triple Crown series.


War Affair won the first two Legs in 2014, the Panasonic Kranji Mile and the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m) before stumbling at the last hurdle, the Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup (2200m). Jockey Danny Beasley, who was a big part of that joyride then, was brimming with excitement ahead of that second chance at history (no horse has completed the Triple Crown yet), even if for him, he is just taking each race at a time.


“The Kranji Mile is going to be a very exciting race this year. War Affair is back to his best but he will have some very good horses to beat,” said the Australian jockey, who boasts a second success in the mile feature aboard Cash Luck for trainer David Kok in 2013.


“The field is quite small with only eight runners, but gee, they are all quality horses, and all have a chance to win.


“What makes it even better is you will have a fair race with less chance of traffic problems. It gives everybody a fair go, and may the best horse win.”


The Ong family-owned champion galloper takes pride of place in the stellar Kranji Mile field which will feature A-listers such as champion three-year-old Debt Collector, Derby hero Well Done, dual Gold Cup-Derby winner Quechua and eternal bridesmaid Majestic Moments among others.


To give an idea of the depth of the race the three remaining challengers Laughing Gravy, Fastnet Dragon and Mr Spielberg are no pushovers either and will definitely keep racing fans on the edge of their seats throughout the mile journey. -STC