Smooth Sailing into 2017 Golden Rose for Merchant Navy

September 18, 2017

Smooth Sailing into 2017 Golden Rose for Merchant Navy

Trainer Ciaron Maher has described his Golden Rose Stakes 2017 hopeful Merchant Navy as “smooth” heading into the undefeated colt’s first Group 1 test in Sydney on Saturday.

Merchant Navy

Merchant Navy makes his Sydney debut at Rosehill Racecourse in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes 2017 this weekend. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

To date the Fastnet Rock three-year-old has won all four of his career starts in Victoria including the narrow first-up victory at Caulfield on September 2 in the Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m).

The form out of that early spring race was franked over the weekend by the second-placed filly Booker who ran under a length back third behind Blue Diamond winner Catchy in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight.

Now it is Merchant Navy’s turn as he prepares for his Sydney race debut on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens in the Group 1 $1 million Golden Rose Stakes (1400m).

Maher is full of pre-race confidence that Merchant Navy will handle the Sydney way of going having worked the colt the reverse way at his home Caulfield track a number of times.

“He’s been smooth,” Maher told the Herald Sun this week.

“He’s a colt. They don’t need time in the paddock before their grand final … so far so good.

“They do reverse gallops quite a bit at Caulfield. It’s to manage the tracks and I don’t mind it either.

“He went up [to Sydney] as a two-year-old to Randwick when he was going to run in the [Group 1 ATC] Sires but was an emergency.

“He had a couple of gallops up there in that direction and I think the trip up there brought him on as a horse.

“As a two-year-old he was a bit of a baby and it made him grow up a bit.

“He galloped the reverse way on Tuesday.”

Merchant Navy is currently rated an $11 shot in futures Golden Rose Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.

Those all-in Golden Rose Stakes betting markets are dominated by the Gerald Ryan-trained Menari ($2) who comes off big wins in the Listed The Rosebud (1100m) and Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) at the Rosehill track this time in.

The Run To The Rose form has been the one to follow into the Group 1 in recent years with the past five Golden Rose winners having had their final lead-up in the Group 2 including the past three completing the double: Hallowed Crown (2014), Exosphere (2015) and Astern (2016).

The last horse to come off a Melbourne lead-up and take out the Golden Rose Stakes meanwhile was Toorak Toff (2010) who won the Listed Vain Stakes in his final lead-up.

Merchant Navy is likely to return south after the Golden Rose Stakes run for a shot at the Group 1 $2 million Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 14.

He is the equal $8 favourite in pre-field Caulfield Guineas odds with Catchy following the unbeaten Tony McEvoy-trained Royal Symphony ($3) who won the Listed Exford Plate (1400m) first-up at Flemington on Saturday.

Check out the full Golden Rose Stakes 2017 odds for this weekend and access to the early Group 1 markets for other upcoming features like the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas now at Ladbrokes.com.au.

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