Past Winners » Merchant Navy 


We are ahead of the market already with Merchant Navy.  It is good to see that he is strong in the market this morning.

He has a big chance.  He was beaten by Redkirk Warrior in a Group 1 race at Flemington in March, and he was receiving 12lb from him, but he was only beaten a short head and a head.  More importantly, it is probable that he has progressed significantly since then.

Moved from Australia to Ireland, from Aaron Purcell to Aidan O’Brien, he made his northern hemisphere debut in the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes at The Curragh on Irish Guineas weekend.  He was weak in the market that day, and his trainer said that he was just about ready to start off, but he won well.  He showed a nice turn of foot and he stayed on well. 

That was a career-best from him, and there is every chance that he will progress again from it, his first run in Europe, his first run since March.  You can be sure that Aidan O’Brien has got to hone his talents in the meantime, and today’s race has been his express objective since he has arrived here.  He should be at concert pitch.

Also, he is only three and a half years old, whereas Redkirk Warrior is seven.  He has far more potential for progression.

Harry Angel obviously sets a high standard, but his Ascot record is definitely a concern.  He has been beaten on all four runs at Ascot, and he has won all five of the races in which he has run away from Ascot.  True, he has run some good races in defeat at Ascot, like when he was second in the Commonwealth Cup last year, but the four best performances of his nine-race career have been away from Ascot.  That is probably down to more than coincidence.