Navy all ship­shape

Ma­her happy with colt as Golden Rose looms

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - LEO SCH­LINK

CIARON Ma­her is con­fi­dent boom colt Mer­chant Navy is on tar­get ahead of the $1 mil­lion Golden Rose at Rose­hill on Satur­day.

Bid­ding to ex­tend his un­beaten run to five, Mer­chant Navy will again be rid­den by Mark Zahra.

A UBET $10 fourth favourite be­hind Me­nari ($2.50), Mer­chant Navy will face the tough­est chal­lenge of his short ca­reer.

Ma­her be­lieves re­verse gal­lops at Caulfield and a trip to Syd­ney last year had con­trib­uted to a fault­less prepa­ra­tion.

“He’s been smooth,” Ma­her said. “He’s a colt. ‘They don’t need time in the pad­dock be­fore their grand fi­nal ... so far so good.”

Ma­her hoped Mer­chant Navy’s fa­mil­iari­sa­tion work at Caulfield would pay off.

“They do re­verse gal­lops quite a bit at Caulfield,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s to man­age the tracks and I don’t mind it ei­ther.

“He went up as a twoyear-old to Rand­wick when he was go­ing to run in the 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.”

WINX left it late to keep her un­beaten streak in­tact in the Ge­orge Main Stakes at Rand­wick on Satur­day – and her dam, Vegas Show­girl, was al­most a week over­due be­fore pro­duc­ing a filly foal a few hours af­ter the race.

The filly, by sire Ex­ceed And Ex­cel, was born at Se­gen­hoe Stud in the NSW Hunter Val­ley.

Breed­ing ex­perts es­ti­mate the half sis­ter to Winx could be worth as much as $3 mil­lion as a year­ling.

“You never say never but, as things stand, it is highly un­likely the filly will en­ter a sales ring,’’ said John Camil­leri, the breeder of Winx and owner of Vegas Show­girl.

“Her filly was stand­ing up within 10 min­utes and my stud man­ager, Peter O’Brien, said she is a lovely, very cor­rect foal.’’

Pic­ture: GETTY IMAGES

Mark Zahra wins on un­beaten colt Mer­chant Navy at Caulfield last start.

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