Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winning colt Merchant Navy (3c Fastnet Rock – Legally Bay) will join Aidan O’Brien’s string at Coolmore’s training operation Ballydoyle in Ireland in preparation for a tilt at Royal Ascot.
An unbeaten stakes winning two-year-old, Merchant Navy was an eye-catching third in the Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap over 1200m at Flemington on Saturday, with his closing 600m split of 32.09 seconds the fastest clocked by any horse on the card.
“I am very excited by Merchant Navy” said O’Brien. “I was very interested to see his run on Saturday and I thought he was unlucky not to win. I love that he can produce a long, sustained burst of speed and the Gr.1 Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot looks the perfect race for him”.
Trainer Ciaron Maher, who sourced Merchant Navy at the 2016 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, said; “Merchant Navy was an outstanding yearling and I have rated him as something special ever since the day he first cantered. He is a brilliant colt with an incredible constitution and I look forward to him showcasing his talent at Royal Ascot. Aidan has invited me to visit Ballydoyle to discuss the horse in the coming days and I am very much looking forward to that. I have no doubt that he is a horse capable of excelling on the world stage.”
Photo credit - Royal Ascot-bound: Merchant Navy (centre), pictured here winning at Caulfield, is set to join Aidan O'Brien.
Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images