War Affair to spell at place of birth in NZ

Trainer Bruce Marsh had an interesting piece of trivia to share after he decided which place in New Zealand his champion galloper War Affair would be staying at for a six-month spell.

The O'Reilly seven-year-old is returning to his place of birth, the Trelawney Stud in Cambridge. The place in itself is not unusual for such scenarios of horses either retiring or looking for a rejuvenating haven, but Marsh himself has a tale to tell about New Zealand's oldest commercial thoroughbred stud, whose most famous bred horse was Australian legend Tulloch.

"Here's a bit of nostalgia for you. War Affair will be spelling at Trelawney Stud where he was born," said the former jockey.

"That's also the stud where Silver Knight was born."

Silver Knight is, of course, the horse Marsh rode to his biggest triumph as a jockey - The Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation across the Tasman, in 1971.

As it turned out, the son of Alcimedes out of Cuban Fox was bred by Seton Otway at the Trelawney Stud.

Prepared by Eric Temperton, Silver Knight and Marsh combined earlier the same year to capture one of New Zealand's biggest staying tests, the New Zealand St Leger over 2,500m.

As a stallion, Silver Knight in turn became the sire of a Melbourne Cup winner, Black Knight in 1984.

"It's just one of these things, but it's nice to have those little anecdotes to talk about once in a while," said Marsh.

"At the time, Trelawney Stud was owned by a different person (Seton Otway) and it is now run by Brent Taylor (after buying from the late millionaire Robert Holmes a Court in 1993).

"It's a beautiful place, the entrance has this long driveway lined with these tall oak trees.

"We've already booked War Affair's flight and he is leaving at the beginning of November."

Marsh and the owners, the Ong family, recently decided to send the 2014 Singapore Horse of the Year back to New Zealand for six months in a bid to treat his well-documented wind issues, and hopefully, resurrect his racing career thereafter.

War Affair, a winner of 16 races, including 12 at Group level (five Group 1s) and more than $3 million in stakes money, last raced in the Group 3 Jumbo Jet Trophy (1,400m) on Sept 10, in which he ran sixth to Countofmontecristo.

Connections hope to bring War Affair back to Kranji should he overcome his respiratory issues.