SINGAPORE - For a fleeting moment at the top of the straight, Hong Kong bound jockey Joao Moreira must have thought that he had picked the wrong horse to ride in yesterday's big race at Kranji.
Daniel, the horse he deserted for the hot favourite War Affair, had shot up like a bullet to kick clear, while his mount lost balance and was taken very wide.
But, as always, "The Magic Man" could do little wrong.
His perseverance and never-say-die attitude secured him the Group 3 $150,000 Magic Millions 2013 More Magic 3YO Championship by half a length from Daniel, who had "King" Corey Brown aboard.
Trainer Theo Kieser's Rikioh (Danny Beasley) finished third in the 1,600m feature, five and a half lengths behind, with stablemate Rappor (Jose Verenzuela) fourth, half a length away.
With the win, War Affair completed a clean sweep of the 3YO series, having also won the $100,000 Premier Racing Partnerships Stakes over 1,200m on Sept 1 and the $100,000 Newgate Farm Stakes over 1,400m on Sept 22.
Yesterday's race started fairly evenly. Debut winner Boomarang Deluxe (apprentice A'Isisuhairi Kasim) spiralled to lead by two lengths but soon proved hard to settle, playing with his head.
He was overtaken by Rappor at the 1,200m mark. The new leader led by two lengths from Silver Dollar (John Powell) and Boomarang Deluxe.
Rappor led into the straight but Brown made a sharp move to take Daniel into second. War Affair, who was making up ground from third-last, was carried wide by Silver Dollar, who was bumped by Golden Knight.
Daniel streaked clear at the 350m and was going like a winner when Moreira brought War Affair home with a big run in the final 100m to grab gold.
Said Moreira: "Oh yeah, he's been showing off that he's the best Three-Year-Old around. Once again, he just proved himself against those horses.
"Well, you could see from the race, I didn't have much luck at the top of the straight. I was having a beautiful run at the back, somewhere three-quarter field for the first 70 per cent of the race.
"Just before the turn for home, I started to make my move on the outside but, unfortunately, Johnny Powell's horse was pushed out and then my horse unfortunately lost his balance and went very, very wide.
"But he was just too good. He just gave me great confidence that he was coming after Daniel and then I just had to get him there."
Said winning trainer Mark Walker: "He just keeps improving. You saw what happened at the turn. He probably had to dig deep today and, you know, he has got the makings of a fantastic horse."
He added that if War Affair pulls up extremely well, he might run him in the Group 1 Raffles Cup over 1,800m in two weeks' time.
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