While a great amount of hard work had gone into WAR AFFAIR to bring him back to race-fitness, trainer Mark Walker actually put the resounding success of the former champion juvenile in Sunday's inaugural $100,000 Premier Racing Partnerships Stakes over 1,200m down to an extra week of holiday.
Unsighted since his last win in the Group 3 Magic Millions Juvenile Championship over 1,200m on July 28, the son of O'Reilly was resuming and tackling his first start as a three-year-old, aptly in the first leg of the new More Magic 3YO Championship Series.
The striking dark brown gelding owned by Warplan Racing Stable, who also claimed the other 2YO feature, the Group 2 Aushorse Golden Horseshoe over 1,200m, among his two other wins, was given some time out at the resting stables, but Walker decided to leave him there for another week after he ran his eyes over him.
After War Affair (Joao Moreira) drew clear to score by 1½ lengths from a surprisingly tenacious Rappor (Jose Verenzuela), it was evident the time on the sidelines had improved the gelding out of sight, considering he had to dig deep in the Juvenile Championship to scrape home by a head from Desert Fox, who was soundly beaten by 2½ lengths this time.
One of the best away, War Affair landed in front with his natural speed, but was eased off the speed by Moreira to settle for fourth in the small six-horse field, allowing Rappor to dictate terms at the head of affairs, while the one dubbed as his potential nemesis, Desert Fox (Corey Brown) dropped back to last, but about five lengths first to last.
The pace hotted up markedly at the 700m mark when Virgin Galactic (Danny Beasley) and Easy Money (Sam Subian), circling the field four wide, swooped down early in a bid to steal a march on War Affair, who had not budged on the inside.
Showing plenty of composure in the saddle, Moreira waited for the home straight before easing his mount out to the centre, and once he did, the $7 favourite let down powerfully to settle down for a good go with Rappor.
Though the pair jostled around for a while, War Affair eventually emerged from the bumping duel with a superior turn of foot as he gathered in Rappor for a grandstand finish.