Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh fears he will lose Singapore star War Affair because he doesn't fit into the system of New Zealand racing.
The O'Reilly eight-year-old made his New Zealand debut with a seventh place finish in last Saturday's Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1400m) at Te Rapa, an effort that pleased Marsh.
But the trainer is far from pleased that War Affair - the second highest-rated galloper in New Zealand behind reigning horse of the year Bonneval - is set to miss out on a start in Saturday week’s Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings, a race that has an entry clause favouring horses that have performed in Group races in the past 18 months.
"I would love to say he's going to the Tarzino but I can't so now we have to sort out plan B," Marsh said.
"He's weighted out of handicap races here but he can't get into a Group One weight-for-age race. It makes it very difficult and I wouldn't be surprised if the owner turns around and takes him back to Singapore.
"At least he can go in $500,000 races up there and know he'll get in. That's probably what will happen."
War Affair won 15 of his 28 starts in Singapore, with his big wins including the Raffles Cup (1800m) and Patron's Bowl (1600m) at Kranji.
His most recent Tarzino Trophy-qualifying performance was his win in the Saas Fee Stakes (1400m) at Kranji in May last year, but after the Foxbridge Plate he remained on the outer at 25th on the order of entry for the Hastings feature.
War Affair dropped two rating points for his seventh in the Foxbridge but as a 108-rated galloper, he would have to carry 65.5kg if he was to contest an open handicap on a feature raceday.
"He's come through the Foxbridge run very well. The run was great. He wasn't beaten far and he was doing his best work on the line, despite not liking the track," Marsh said. – NZ Racing Desk