A stakes win at Flemington has completed a winning hat-trick for Merchant Navy with the promise of more success to follow.
Tuesday’s Listed Anzac Day Stakes over 1400m could prove a spring three-year-old guide with Long John (2013), Merion (2014), My Poppette (2015) and Throssell (2016) among previous winners.
Ridden by Luke Nolen, Merchant Navy was sent out at $3.80 with William Hill and scored by a length from the $3.30 favourite Casino Fourteen with Speed Street ($3.70) four lengths away third.
Trainer Ciaron Maher said the unbeaten two-year-old had improved with each race.
And a trip to Sydney, although he was scratched from the Sires’ Produce at Randwick on April 1, had also brought the colt on.
“I’m thrilled to get another win with him,” Maher said.
“He’s definitely on the right path. He’s an exciting colt.”
Maher would not be drawn on an immediate program for Merchant Navy preferring to see how he came through his latest victory.
“He’s been progressive and an easy read,” Maher said.
“He was having a buck and a play on the track yesterday letting us know he was pretty right to go so we’ll let him get over this and see where we go.”
Nolen said Merchant Navy was still a work in progress.
Like Mark Zahra who rode the colt at Sandown on April 5, Nolen said Merchant Navy would be further improved when he had something to chase.
“He gets to the front and thinks it’s time for the cue in the rack,” Nolen said.
“It’s not because he’s a colt. It’s that he doesn’t know how to finish a race off.
“There’s been good horses win this race which probably haven’t been ready for the helter skelter of a Blue Diamond or whatever but this race is held in good stead and he’s going to be one of them as well.”