Singapore star War Affair (O'Reilly x Kristique) has joined Stephen Marsh’s barn after a six-month spell at Trelawney Stud and the Cambridge trainer is eyeing feature spring racing with the eight-year-old.
“He recently joined the stable after having a nice long spell at Trelawney,” Marsh said. “It’s probably the first decent spell he has had for most of his life.
“He’s been living over there for so long and he wouldn’t have known himself to get into a nice paddock with foot-long grass.”
Formerly trained in Singapore by Stephen’s father Bruce Marsh, War Affair won 16 of his 29 starts, including 12 stakes races and earned more than S$3 million in prizemoney.
His feats on the track led him to being crowned Champion 2YO in Singapore in 2013, Horse of the Year and Champion 3YO in Singapore in 2014, and Champion 4YO and Miler in Singapore in 2015.
Marsh is happy with how War Affair has settled into his stable and is setting the O’Reilly gelding for the Gr.2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) before heading to the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings next month.
“He’s come in and he seems like a rejuvenated horse,” Marsh said.
“He’ll run in the Foxbridge and if he goes a boomer, well he’s nominated for the first leg of the triple crown (in Hastings).
“He looks good, he won’t trial next week or anything, I might just give him an exhibition gallop or something along those lines.
“If he doesn’t go any good in the Foxbridge then we’ll look at some other options, but his first initial targets would be those two races.”
Marsh is excited to have such a quality horse join the stable and said War Affair, who was sold through Trelawney's 2012 New Zealand Bloodstock draft, belies his age and seems to be over the wind issues he suffered from in Singapore.
“He’s had a few wind operations,” Marsh said. “It all seems good now, his wind seems good. Obviously he wears a tongue tie, but it doesn’t seem too bad. His legs seem fresh and he’s sound, he’s like a new horse.
“It is really exciting to have him in the stable. The riders said he doesn’t feel like he’s eight, he feels like a young horse, so that’s great.
“He has obviously been well looked after his whole life. Horses with the amount of racing he has had at his age tend to have their fair share of problems, but he’s fine, he’s 100 per cent.”
There is still the possibility that War Affair will return to Singapore for his owners the Ong family, but Marsh is hoping to hang onto the O’Reilly gelding for as long as he can.
“I don’t really know what they plan on doing,” he said. “I guess if he comes up well he will end up back in Singapore, but I hope not, I hope he stays here.” – NZ Racing Desk