Navy all shipshape
Maher happy with colt as Golden Rose looms
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.’’
Mark Zahra wins on unbeaten colt Merchant Navy at Caulfield last start.