Unbeaten Melbourne colt Merchant Navy is set to sail into Sydney to contest the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Ciaron Maher trained Merchant Navy is the winner of all his four starts and hit the line hard from back in the field for his latest victory in the Group 3 $150,000 H.D.F McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on September 2.
Merchant Navy has done all of his racing in Victoria with a debut win in a 1200m Pakenham Maiden on March 17 followed by a win in a 1400m two year old Handicap at Sandown on April 5.
Maher then stepped the Fastnet Rock colt up in class and he had no trouble keeping his winning run going with a one length win in the Listed $120,000 ANZAC Day Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on April 25.
Merchant Navy has had some practice in running the Sydney way of going with several gallops when he travelled there in preparation for the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires’ (1400m) at Randwick on April 1.
But he was made an emergency and failed to gain a place in the field in the Inglis Sires’ and returned home to Caulfield without having a run.
Maher has prepared the colt for the reverse way of going with several gallops in the clockwise direction at his home track at Caulfield.
“He had a couple of gallops up there in that direction and I think the trip up there brought him on as a horse,” Maher told AAP.
“As a two-year-old he was a bit of a baby and it made him grow up a bit.”
Maher has also pencilled in the Group 1 $2m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 14 for Merchant Navy and said that the three weeks in between runs would suit his program perfectly.
“It’s a nice program with a trip in between and a couple of gallops,” Maher said.
“If they’re racing every fortnight you really only get one opportunity to give them a decent gallop.
“Three weeks is the program we set for him early and so far so good.”
Melbourne jockey Mark Zahra has been aboard Merchant Navy for three of his four starts, including his last start win in the H.D.F McNeil Stakes and will be in the saddle again in the Golden Rose Stakes.
Early betting for the Golden Rose Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au have Merchant Navy marked at $11 behind Menari at $2.10, Pariah at $6 and Gold Standard at $9.
The Gerald Ryan trained Menari was super impressive in his two wins this current campaign in the Listed $150,000 Smithfield RSL Club Rosebud (1100m) at Rosehill on August 12 and in the Group 2 $200,000 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on September 9.
Early market order at Ladbrokes.com.au for the 2017 Golden Rose Stakes: $2.10 Menari, $6 Pariah, $9 Gold Standard, $11 Merchant Navy, $15 Chauffeur, Formality, $17 Assimilate, $21 Trapeze Artist, Shogun Sun, Viridine, $26 Alizee, Dracarys, $34 Sanctioned, Invader, Merovee, Single Bullet, $41 or better the rest.