Dual Newmarket Handicap winner Redkirk Warrior has drawn barrier two in the 2018 Group 1 £600,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) down the straight at Royal Ascot in England on Saturday.
The Lindsay Park trained Redkirk Warrior is a straight course specialist with four wins down the famous Flemington straight, three at Group 1 level.
Redkirk Warrior is a two times winner of the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in 2017 and 2018 as well as winning the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) during the 2018 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
The giant chestnut will again be facing off against Group 1 winning three year old Merchant Navy who finished third in the year’s Newmarket Handicap and is now prepared by champion Irish trainer Adian O’Brien.
Merchant Navy has drawn barrier eleven in the twelve horse Diamond Jubilee Stakes field and has won his only start for the O’Brien stable with a victory in the Group 2 €120,000 Ireland Greenlands Stakes (1207m) at the Curragh on May 26.
Co-trainer Ben Hayes, who trains in partnership with his David Hayes and Tom Dabernig, is overseeing the preparation of Redkirik Warrior at Newmarket in England and has reported that the seven year old has settled in well and worked strongly in his final serious gallop on Wednesday before Saturday’s assignment down the undulating Royal Ascot straight.
“On Wednesday morning (local time) his work was increased a little compared to previous days. He galloped on the Al Bahathri, which is Newmarket’s main all-weather gallop,” Ben Hayes told racing.com.
“He worked over 1000m going 14 seconds to the furlong, increasing to thirteens the last furlong. We just wanted him to stretch his legs and have a little blow out a few days out from his race, we’ll now just taper into the race.”
“Ideally, Wednesday’s gallop would have been conducted on grass but given there’s been little to no rain during the past two months here in Newmarket the gallops are at the moment very firm and it’s not worth taking a risk.”
Betting for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Redkirk Warrior the third pick at $5 behind England’s the number one sprinter Harry Angel at $3.70 and Merchant Navy at $4.60.
The Clive Cox trained Harry Angel carries the famous Godolphin royal blue colours and is the winner of five of his nine race starts, including a last start victory at his first run for six months in the Group 2 £125,000 Duke Of York Stakes (1207m) at York in England on May 16.