Horse racing: Another year goes by without a triple crown winner

Horse racing: Another year goes by without a triple crown winner
Jockey Joao Moreira steering Super Easy to an easy win in Race 9 of the Group 1 Lion City Cup on 28 April 2013.

It was an affair to remember - and oh, how racegoers swooned as they looked ahead to that fairy-tale ending.

After a fantastic 2013 season, which saw him score six times in eight outings, WAR AFFAIR charged into the 2014 season looking to conquer all before him.

By October, the romance had heated up into a torrid liaison when War Affair took the Panasonic Kranji Mile, the first leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Series. Then came the second leg, the Raffles Cup.

Racegoers thronged through Kranji's turnstiles with just one star in their eyes. Down to a man, they had come to see War Affair and he didn't let them down.

Indeed, it was War Affair first and the others nowhere.

It set the stage for him to become the first horse to claim the Triple Crown and hearts were a-flutter as we watched the champ prepare for that final leg, the Longines Singapore Gold Cup.

Trainer Alwin Tan's charge was the darling of the turf. And he looked the part in the parade ring. But, like most affairs of the heart, this one didn't end well.

War Affair gave it his all - but it wasn't enough.

While his heart was right in it, other factors came into play, notably his 58kg handicap, and Singapore's affair with the four-year-old ended in tatters when he could only manage fifth spot behind an exciting prospect for 2015 honours, QUECHUA.

So, with eyes wide open, we will tiptoe into the 2015 season, preparing, again, to be swept off our feet and seduced by some horse and rider.

Who knows, we might even fall head over heels for another in the mould of War Affair.

But, before that, let's look back to the season gone by and pay tributes to the tenacity of the horse, the charisma of the jockey and those moments of magic which made 2014 another stand-out year of racing.

JANUARY

Jan 1: What a way to kick off the 2014 racing season! Although the first race was just a Class 5 Div 1 event over 1,400m, racegoers were kept on the edge of their seats when two horses lunged at the winning post together.

Fiscal Wings held off Grand Vitess by a mere nose, but the drama did not end there. An objection for interference was lodged and Fiscal Wings was relegated to second after a lengthy inquiry.

Jockey Manoel Nunes, who rode Fiscal Wings, went on to ride three winners, including the Laurie Laxon-trained Dujardin in the Group 3 New Year Cup.

On this day, trainer Hideyuki Takaoka saddled his 300th Kranji winner with Tangible Assets.

Jan 3: Trainer Shane Baertschiger was in form, sending out three winners (Makawao, Street Champ and Seligi).

Jan 5: Gato Negro and Strubelli dead-heated for first placing, but the other drama was that of a bizarre incident in which the gates flew open when a barrier attendant was seen crawling out from a barrier. Luckily, the man was not hurt.

Jan 17: Dujardin scored his second Group 3 victory in 17 days by taking the Woodlands Classic Stakes.

Jan 26: Onwats App, who was having only his second start, led all the way to pay a thumping $542 for a win. He was the least-backed of the eight runners.

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