War Affair ready for older rivals

War Affair ready for older rivals
War Affair swooping home on the outside with jockey Joao Moreira riding to beat Daniel in the $150,000 Group 3 Magic Millions 2013 More Magic Championship over 1,600m race held on 13 October 2013.

The inclusion of former juvenile champion and current three-year-old star WAR AFFAIR has set the cat among the pigeons in Sunday's $500,000 Group 1 Raffles Cup race.

From the 10 runners slated to contest the second leg of the Singapore Triple Crown Series, the Mark Walker-trained class act is the only one who does not fit in either of the two distinct categories of usual suspects.

In one corner, there are the first-leg (Panasonic Kranji Mile) runners going for their rematch in Round Two, namely Cash Luck, who won the event, City Lad, Stepitup, Super Ninetyseven, Flying Fulton and Nandowra.

In the other corner, there are those who eschewed the first leg in favour of the longer distances of the last two legs, especially the ultimate prize, the $1.35 million Group 1 Longines Singapore Gold Cup on Nov 17.

They are Street Legal, Wild Geese and Born To Fly.

Age is the other element of surprise and intrigue as no three-year-old has ever won the feature race since its inception in 1991, even if it is a Weight-for-Age race open to three-year-olds and upwards.

As such, the New Zealand-bred son of O'Reilly will carry the postage-stamp weight of 49kg, in receipt of as much as 9kg from his older rivals, with only four-year-old arch-rivals Stepitup and Super Ninetyseven conceding him 8kg.

A few eyebrows were raised when Walker declared the Raffles Cup as War Affair's next target shortly after a clean sweep of the More Magic 3YO Championship.

Conventional wisdom would normally suggest a well-earned break for a horse who has been submitted to such an arduous campaign at such a young age, only to be brought back for a tilt towards the Singapore Three-Year-Old Challenge next year.

But Walker took a leaf from the Group 1 Cox Plate (2,040m), which incidentally will be run this Saturday at Moonee Valley, Melbourne, in his decision to go against the grain.

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