Merchant Navy (Fastnet Rock) winning the G2 Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh

Merchant Navy so impressive on European debut

Australian superstar Merchant Navy (3c Fastnet Rock-Legally Bay, by Snippets) made a huge splash on his northern hemisphere debut at the Curragh on Saturday.

An unbeaten two-year-old, who went on to win the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington in November, the son of Fastnet Rock cruised home to take the G2 Greenlands Stakes by a length.

Bookmakers now make Merchant Navy, who was bred in Australia by Chris Barham, a warm order for the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

"You'd be delighted with him obviously. We felt he was just ready and the whole reason for running him was to see before we went to Ascot,” said trainer Aidan O’Brien. “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 and I think he has to go after that. I thought there would be a lot of improvement in him. I was just hoping for a nice run today, that's all, so it's all a plus.”

Ryan Moore added: "He's a very good horse to carry a penalty and to get off a plane and come from the other side of the world. He gave me a real good feel and travelled very comfortably. It was a bit of a messy race, we were split all over the place and wanted to take my time a little bit but it was hard to.

"He did it very well because he travelled and cruised and quickened. He has a great attitude."