Could Unbeaten Merchant Navy Take The Golden Rose?
Written on the 22 September 2017
The 2017 Golden Rose Stakes is a Group 1 set-weight race for three-year-olds held over a distance of 1400 metres at Rosehill Racecourse, with total prizemoney of $1,000,000. And this year it's anyone's guess who will win!
The yet to be beaten Merchant Navy sits at a comfortable third favourite with Ladbrokes at $8.50 behind favourite Menari ($2) and Pariah ($6).
Ciaron Maher-trained Merchant Navy drew a very lucky barrier 2, while the two favourites drew wide with 11 and 12 respectively.
Maher who is yet to race in Sydney with his Fastnet Rock colt, couldn't be happier with his draw.
"I don't know how the race is going to map out but certainly, on face value, I'm very happy to be in barrier two," Maher said. "It will be nice to get a bit of cover and Mark (Zahra) can assess when they come across as to where he wants to be."
It's really difficult to match him against Menari and Pariah who have the Sydney advantage. The colt had an impressive Group 3 win at Caulfield over 1200 metres and Maher is adamant he wouldn't want any other horse in the race.
"I'm very happy with our horse and I wouldn't be swapping him," he said. "I'm sure Gerald Ryan would be saying the same about Menari. I don't know how you line them up and there would be some form line somewhere.
"I'm not too worried about it and I'm just trying to have our bloke as best we can. He has travelled up well and he travelled up as a two-year-old when he was an emergency for the Sires' and it's always a bonus when they have done it before."
"He has been up here and he has had a couple of gallops the Sydney way of going," he said. "We gallop at Caulfield maybe once every four to six weeks the opposite direction and we work the opposite direction every second day at Caulfield, so he should be pretty ambidextrous.
"He worked (Tuesday) morning (at Rosehill) and sat off one and galloped nicely to the line. It shouldn't be (an issue) and if you're drawn in and get a bit of cover, it is easier than being drawn wide and skirting off the track."
Although Merchant Navy has never run in Sydney before, Maher is confident considering he's the only horse out of the three who has won over 1400 metres.
"He got the 1400m as a two-year-old and he has matured a bit as a racehorse," he said. "First-up he was quite happy to relax and come with a run and you would think the 1400m should be ideal for him. He has a good barrier, he has had a look around the track and I just hope for a smooth rest of the week and he should line up in great order."
Shy to the limelight, Queensland trainer Kelly Schweida is hopeful that Shogun Sun ($21), who made his debut in Sydney this month at the Run to the Rose, finishing 5th, will have his debut win at Rosehill for his owners.
"Shogun Sun has a great bunch of owners. I would love to win a good race for the owners of this horse."
This will be Shogun Sun's first run over 1400 metres, so it's certainly going to make for an interesting race.
(Photo: Merchant Navy trainer, Ciaron Maher - Photo source: Grant Peters, Trackside Photography)