Australian Group One-winning sprinter Merchant Navy has won his first start for trainer Aidan O’Brien, taking out the Group Two Greenland Stakes at the Curragh.
Originally trained by Ciaron Maher, the colt won the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington in November for Aaron Purcell when Maher was serving a six-month suspension.
After his close third behind Redkirk Warrior in the Newmarket Handicap in March, Coolmore sent Merchant Navy to Ireland to try to enhance his stud career with northern hemisphere success.
He is likely to have one more run in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot before returning to Australia for the breeding season later this year.
“You’d be delighted with him, obviously,” O’Brien said.
“We felt he was just ready to come and the whole reason for running him was to see before we went to Ascot.
“We felt that he was at a racecourse gallop stage. The lads in Australia said he was a very good horse, so we just took it totally on trust. He did five little canters, that’s all he did.
“Ryan (Moore) was very happy with him. The plan is to go to Ascot for the six-furlong race (Diamond Jubilee Stakes) and I think he has to go after that.
“I think he’s only here for Ascot and then gone after that, whatever (stallion) commitments he has.”