Aidan O'Brien targeting Royal Ascot run with Australian recruit Merchant Navy

Aidan O'Brien

Leading Australian runner Merchant Navy will join Aidan O'Brien this year ahead of a planned Royal Ascot run.

The Fastnet Rock colt won the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes for trainer Aaron Purcell last November and has finished third in both his starts this year, most recently chasing home Redkirk Warrior in the six-furlong Newmarket Handicap last week.

O'Brien told "I am very excited by Merchant Navy.

"I was very interested to see his run on Saturday and I thought he was unlucky not to win. I love that he can produce a long, sustained burst of speed and the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot looks the perfect race for him".

Merchant Navy was sourced and originally trained by Ciaron Maher, who added: "Merchant Navy was an outstanding yearling and I have rated him as something special ever since the day he first cantered.

"He is a brilliant colt with an incredible constitution and I look forward to him showcasing his talent at Royal Ascot.

"Aidan has invited me to visit Ballydoyle to discuss the horse in the coming days and I am very much looking forward to that. I have no doubt that he is a horse capable of excelling on the world stage."