Champion Juvenile War Affair laid in no uncertain terms that he is the heir apparent to the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge crown when he blitzed his rivals in the first leg of the series in Race 9 on Sunday.
Formerly trained by Mark Walker and having only his second start for leading trainer Alwin Tan (inset) on Sunday, War Affair captured the $250,000 Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint over 1,200m on the short course in a sizzling 1min 08.86sec.
It was one of the rare occasions that winners clock sub-1:09 over the trip. It was just 1.02sec outside Hong Kong star Sacred Kingdom's time of 1:07.84 when the world champion sprinter won the 2009 Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint.
The 1,200m wasn't really War Affair's caper, as he has now developed stamina with age and the field comprised a top list of natural sprinters.
But he won with such consummate ease that the next two legs over longer trips are as good as his, barring unforeseen circumstances.
The second leg is the $350,000 Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic over 1,400m on April 20 and the final leg is the $500,000 Group 1 Singapore Guineas over 1,600m on May 16.
If he succeeds, War Affair will be the fifth consecutive horse to win the Grand Slam, after Better Than Ever, Gingerbread Man, Super Easy and Stepitup.
Sunday, few expected War Affair to be so close to the speed with the fine array of sprinters, but jockey Danny Beasley managed to slot his mount beautifully behind Faaltless, a winner of four of his five previous starts.
He was about one and a half lengths behind at the halfway stage but had cruised up to cover the leader on straightening.
Another four-time winner and second favourite, Rite Of Spring, was next but soon sent out distress signals.
The two leaders kicked away to a two-length advantage at the 300m mark and three at the 200m, where War Affair started to career away.
He paid $10 for a win for his seventh win in 10 starts.
Said trainer Tan: "Today he really showed us how capable he is, and I would say, based on the timing, you know, he really did his best."
Tan revealed that he pulled a trick from the hat and it worked.
He said: "Everyone thought this race would be fast, but I tried to play a trick, you know, maybe today we give them a surprise and try to sit a bit forward.
"Everyone thought we would be flat out, that kind of thing, but it proved we were right.
"Yes, I think at the moment I can't think of anything else but the Three-Year-Old series, which we have planned for him."
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