Redkirk Warrior rounds off Ascot prep in style as trainer eyes Merchant rematch
Trainer David Hayes will head to Royal Ascot confident Redkirk Warrior is in peak condition after the sprinting star won a barrier trial at Werribee on Monday.
Hayes was delighted with the way Redkirk Warrior quickened turning for home to beat five rivals over four furlongs, and also took heart from the former Australian-trained Merchant Navy's debut win for Aidan O'Brien at the Curragh on Saturday.
"It goes to show that the Aussie sprinters are right up there again," said Hayes. "I've got great respect for Merchant Navy and it's nice that we beat him last start and meet him quite a lot better at the weights."
Australian sprint winners at Royal Ascot
2003 Choisir (King's Stand and Golden Jubilee)
2006 Takeover Target (King's Stand)
2007 Miss Andretti (King's Stand)
2009 Scenic Blast (King's Stand)
2012 Black Caviar (Diamond Jubilee)
Redkirk Warrior, who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, is being aimed at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on June 23, where he is set to clash with last year's Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Merchant Navy.
However, he could switch to the opening day's King's Stand Stakes on June 19 if the weather forecast is bad.
Redkirk Warrior is due to fly to Britain on June 6 and Hayes said Monday's trial was the final preparation before he departs, although he may stretch his legs at Flemington next Monday.
Regan Bayliss, who rode Redkirk Warrior to success in the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap, was on board in the trial and said: "I've never seen his coat look better and he was really in the zone. He had his ears pricked the whole way and was enjoying his trial.
"I gave him a click-up and he quickened up over the final furlong and a half and stretched out really well. He's pulled up terrific and I wish the connections all the best for Ascot."
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