Old stalwart War Affair (O'Reilly x Kristique) topped off his condition ahead of the Jumbo Jet Trophy with a rousing barrier trial on Tuesday morning.
Dropped off at the rear of the seven-horse field, the O’Reilly seven-year-old ambled up around the field as his stablemate Supernova carted them into the straight before letting down with a powerful run.
The 2014 Singapore Horse of the Year went to the line nicely to make it a stable queue-up for Bruce Marsh with Supernova (Vlad Duric) second one length away. The Stephen Gray pair of Twickenham (Amirul Ismadi) and Newlands (Derreck David) ran third and fourth respectively, all smack-up behind.
Marsh is trying to land a second feature with War Affair after the dead-heat with Storm Troops in the Gr.3 Saas Fee Stakes (1400m) back in May. War Affair has captured a massive haul of 11 other feature races, including five at Group One level, with trainers Mark Walker and Alwin Tan.
Though the Ong family-owned galloper could only muster a fourth place to Forever Young in the Gr.2 Chairman’s Trophy (1800m) on August 6, Marsh still extolled that luckless run under fellow Kiwi jockey and first-time partner Craig Grylls (who took over from the retired Danny Beasley).
“There was a half gap there and it looked like it would close. When he got through, it was too late,” said Marsh.
“It was still a great run and Craig will stick with him. He rode him in the trial today and he was very happy with the hit-out.
“I was happy with his trial this morning but he faces a big challenge in the Jumbo Jet Trophy. It’s a Weight-for-Age race and he is definitely well-in at the weights, but he’s taking on some very good horses.
“I know it’s a drop back to 1400m, but there is nothing else for him. I wouldn’t run him over such trips late in the season.
“He is very adaptable, anyway. He needs to get the run until his main races come up, like the Kranji Mile, Raffles Cup, etc.
“It’s going to be a pretty exciting race.”
The S$200,000 Gr.3 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m) is a race that neither War Affair nor Marsh have won before. At 114 points, War Affair is the highest-rated among stellar entries that include drawcards such as Debt Collector, Alibi, Lim’s Cruiser, Elite Excalibur and the up-and-coming Countofmontecristo. -STC