Bruce Marsh recalls special Cambridge link

Bruce Marsh and his assistant trainer Jason Ong pictured with War Affair in Singapore.

Former Kiwi 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, which in itself is not unusual for such scenarios of horses either retiring or looking for a rejuvenating haven. But Marsh 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 successful jockey who is now making his mark as a trainer in Singapore.   “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 in the 1971 Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation or two across the Tasman. As it turned out, the son of Alcimedes from Cuban Fox was bred by Seton Otway at the Trelawney Stud.

Silver Knight was prepared at Awapuni by Eric Temperton and Marsh combined with him earlier the same year to capture one of New Zealand’s biggest staying tests, the New Zealand St Leger (2500m). In turn, as a stallion, Silver Knight became the sire of a Melbourne Cup winner, Black Knight in 1984.

War Affair will soon be enjoying these lush pastures at Trelawney Stud.

“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 War Affair’s 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, as well as hopefully resurrect his racing career.

War Affair, a winner of 16 races and more than $S3 million in stakes money, last raced in the Jumbo Jet Trophy (1400m) on September 10 when sixth to Countofmontecristo.

Connections hope to take War Affair, who was sold for $70,000 from Trelawney’s 2012 Karaka draft, back to Kranji provided he overcomes his respiratory issues.

-Singapore Turf Club