Warrnambool trainer hopes its smooth sailing for Merchant Navy at Caulfield

TOP FORM: Mark Zahra rides Merchant Navy (right) to victory in the Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington in November 4. Picture: AAP
TOP FORM: Mark Zahra rides Merchant Navy (right) to victory in the Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington in November 4. Picture: AAP

AARON Purcell hopes boom colt Merchant Navy will keep his unbeaten record intact for the  Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase-winning trainer when he lines up in the $200,000 Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

Merchant Navy scored a thrilling victory for Purcell, winning the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington in November after he took over training duties for the suspended Ciaron Maher

“Ciaron had trained him for his previous five starts,” Purcell said.

“I’m just hoping we can notch up another win.

He’s had a good break since his Coolmore win and in that time he’s matured into a magnificent colt.

“I’ve been happy with Merchant Navy’s work leading into the Rubiton but his grand final is the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on March 10.”

Villermont and Black Sail will run in the $200,000 Autumn Stakes for Purcell while Darren Weir’s Warrnambool satellite stable has strong representation on the program.