Merchant Navy's Queensland Roots


Merchant Navy is the talk of the country after his impressive victory in the prestigious victory in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot on Sunday morning.

The boom colt was bred by Chris and Jane Barham, from Toowoomba on the Darling Downs.

The Barham's have enjoyed plenty of success with a number of their horses over the years, but nothing would compare to Merchant Navy's win on Sunday.

The finish bore an uncanny resemblance to that of the same race six years ago to the day, when Australia's greatest sprinter Black Caviar held off French star Moonlight Cloud in a desperately close photo.

Merchant Navy held on to win by a narrow margin from City Light, another French raider, with American Bound For Nowhere – which just about cost the Australian sprinter victory with a sizable bump 100m from home – third in a blanket finish.

Merchant Navy's original trainer Ciaron Maher was at Royal Ascot for the first time to watch his charge, which he had a share in,  take Royal glory.

"He has done it in both hemispheres and he will be very busy when he goes to stud at the end of this season,” he said. "It is a credit to the team and the staff, he has come right through our system.
"We bought him as a yearling, we broke him in and he has developed all the way, he is just a phenomenal horse.”

The Barham's originally sold the colt for $350,000 at the Inglis Easter Sales before he was sold again - this time for $28 million after he won the Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby day at Flemington last year.

The Daily Telegraph reports that 

Some slot-holders have made contact with Merchant Navy’s new owners Coolmore Stud since his Royal Ascot triumph to persuade them to keep the sprinter in training.

But Merchant Navy has already been advertised to stand at stud this spring and more than 150 mares have been booked.

The sprinter’s Royal Ascot win has also ensured he is commercially appealing to northern hemisphere breeders.

“Merchant Navy will be coming back to Australia to stand at stud,’’ a Coolmore spokesman said last night.

“The Everest is an absolute no.’’