Racing: 1,600m not a problem for War Affair

Smart three-year-old WAR AFFAIR crushed his peers for another dominant victory in the second leg of the inaugural More Magic 3YO Championship series - the $100,000 Newgate Farm Stakes over 1,400m in Race 10 at Kranji on Sunday.

Already the winner of the first leg, the Premier Racing Partnerships Stakes over 1,200m three weeks ago, the son of O'Reilly took the extra 200m like a duck to water with a last-to-first win that left his five rivals scrambling for the minors at the back.

War Affair, who tasted defeat only once in six starts when fourth on debut, is now on course for the third leg - the Group 3 $150,000 More Magic Ready To Run Sales 2013 Championship over 1,600m on Oct 13, with trainer Mark Walker eagerly looking forward to the step-up to the mile.

Said the New Zealander: "This horse will keep improving with more distance. It will be his first time over the mile, but the way he is going, it should not be a problem for him at all.

"From the draw today, I told Joao (Moreira) to go back and ride him like he was the best horse in the race.

"Even though he tailed off early, I was always confident he was the best horse and would finish the strongest. There was a bit of buffeting in the home straight, but that's him. He just runs about a bit."

After smoking his pipe at the back on the rails, Moreira waited for the run to the line on the long course to pop the question to War Affair.

Once eased out to the middle, the brown gelding unleashed his trademark turn of foot to hit the front in one fell swoop, though he was inclined to roll in under pressure, causing a slight bunching up on his inside.

The Michael Freedman-trained Desert Fox, portrayed as his biggest danger again after his third in the Premier Racing Partnerships Stakes and a closing second to War Affair in the Group 3 Magic Millions Juvenile Championship in July, had no excuse this time, as he was beaten fair and square in third, more than four lengths astern.

Rikioh (Danny Beasley), who tried to pinch the race from the front, was second, finishing 2ΒΌ lengths away, while Freedman's second runner, Bogart (Manoel Nunes), could only muster fourth place.

The winning time was 1min 23.1sec. "I've said it before and I'll say it again, he was the best 2YO and he's clearly the best 3YO now," said Moreira, who will be missing the next two Kranji meetings to return to his native Brazil for a short break.

"He's a dream horse to have for anybody and I'm just the blessed boy to be sitting on top of him.

"I suppose many people must have thought I would be a lot handier, but I knew he would run on and I rode him with a lot of confidence.

"Mark has done a fantastic job to keep improving him from where he was all the way to where he is now. I still believe he'll be a much better horse in six months' time.

"He'll be even better over the mile and I hope I will still be around when he goes for the third leg over that trip."

The news that the three-time Singapore champion jockey is moving to Hong Kong for good was the talk of the town last week.

But he indicated he would only leave for the former British colony on Oct 16 should his application for a jockey's licence be approved by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

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