Trainer Bruce Marsh had a change of heart about not giving War Affair (O'Reilly x Kristique) another barrier trial one week before his much-anticipated comeback in the Group 3 Saas Fee Stakes (1400m) on May 14.
The 2014 Singapore Horse of the Year was last Thursday put through a barrier trial, his first since his last run in the Group 1 Raffles Cup (1800m) in October. Outpaced early, War Affair, who was diagnosed with a wind problem after his third to Debt Collector in the Raffles Cup, dashed late to claim the trial by a nose
After the hit-out, Marsh said the O’Reilly six-year-old, who was at his fifth season, would need no other trial and will head straight to the Saas Fee Stakes.
But this Thursday, his name was back on the trial list, in Trial No 4 which looked like a mini dress rehearsal of the Saas Fee Stakes. Five other likely contenders were also in the line-up – Well Done, Poseidon, Storm Troops, Mr Fantastic and Twickenham.
Marsh explained that only one barrier trial might not give an accurate snapshot of a horse’s condition.
“He was too fresh at the first trial. He trialled too good and it’s hard to get a line on his form,” said the Kiwi handler.
“It’s like you get a stayer who can win first-up in an 1100m race, but doesn’t show much second-up. That’s why I preferred to give him one more trial.”
As it turned out, War Affair almost delivered a carbon copy of the first trial – flop out to last before motoring home late – except that jockey Danny Beasley was seen giving him more of a push this time around to beat all but Mr Fantastic (Barend Vorster).
“Everything’s good with him and Danny was also happy with him. It’s all systems go for his comeback,” said Marsh. -STC