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Group 2 in Singapore

18 May 2013

Hot favourite War Affair stamped himself as the best two-year-old in Singapore when he defeated a capacity field for a commanding win in the Group 2 $325,000 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe (1200m) on Friday night.

Settled in midfield by jockey Joao Moreira, War Affair came sailing home once he saw daylight at the top of the straight to race away an impressive two-length winner from the well-tried Silver Dollar (A’Isisuhairi Kasim) with longshot Mexborough Boy (Barend Vorster) third another 2 ¼ lengths away, to finish just a tick under 1min 10secs.

The early pace in the final Leg of the Singapore Horseshoe Series was frantic with the early jostling for the lead between Tashi (Ivaldo Santana), Peace No War (Manoel Nunes) and Super Bonus (Greg Cheyne) with Silver Dollar taking the drop in the box-seat and War Affair ($11) trucking up right behind him.

Turning for home, the pacesetters soon buckled under the swoopers’ pressure led by Silver Dollar, who looked the goods when he dove for a gap to hit the front at the 300m.

But once War Affair was angled out into the clear, he quickly went through his gears to assert his superiority to land the money in impressive fashion, handing both trainer Mark Walker and Moreira their first win in the two-year-old feature.

Being a New Zealand-bred by successful sire O’Reilly, War Affair, was however not eligible for the $165,000 bonus, but still took home around $170,000 stakes money for the Warplan Racing Stable, headed by Mr and Mrs Ong.

War Affair incidentally became the only juvenile to have claimed more than one Leg of the six-race Singapore Golden Horseshoe series as he was also the winner of the fifth Leg, the Inglis Sydney Juvenile Stakes just a fortnight ago. The other four Leg were captured by four individual winners Rappor, Tashi, Silver Dollar and Peace No War.

“He’s a pretty exciting horse. He’s kept improving with age and he’s got an exciting future in Singapore,” said Walker. “Being by O’Reilly, who is a great sire, I think he’ll go over more ground here.

“Two runs ago, he probably needed the run as he was not quite mature as an individual. He’s a big scopy sort and whatever he does now, he will improve for sure.

“Regardless of how he went tonight, he will have two weeks out and I will the map out a programme for him.

“David Ellis (Te Akau Stable principal) is the one who bought this horse. We had a budget of $100,000 and he went for less, he was under-budget, but he’s proven a good buy.

“I’d also like to thank Mr and Mrs Ong who have been great supporters of mine from Day 1.”

Moreira said his confidence level was an all-time high during the race seeing how well he was travelling with cover behind the speed.

“Things just panned out beautifully for him. He just put himself out there and all I had to do is keep him out of trouble,” said the three-time Singapore champion jockey.

“I could have been a little closer to the pace and he would still have won. It was good to be there, give him a chance to learn how to run between runners.

“At his first start, he was very green, but credit to Mark for having brought him to his best in the last two runs.  This is a very promising horse with a bright future here, especially if we step him up in distance.”

While it was all smiles in the Walker camp, dejection was palpable among other the connections of other top fancies like second favourite ($19) and debut winner Peace No War, who weakened in the straight to finish eighth after enjoying a good run.

“He was a different horse tonight,” said Nunes. “We had a lovely spot in the race and he travelled well, but he didn’t let down in the straight.

“I don’t know what happened with him tonight. Maybe when Michael and his staff get him back to the stable they might find something, but he wasn’t the same horse tonight.”

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