- Sire-Dam -
Merchant Navy was briefly made ante-post favourite for the Darley July Cup after his win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – only to be retired to stud less than a week later.
Aidan O’Brien, who had saddled him at Royal Ascot, need not have worried. He still had five runners in the Newmarket sprint, with three of them finishing first, third and fifth.
His decisive winner at Headquarters – much more decisive than Merchant Navy had been – was the dashing U S Navy Flag, who was dropping back in distance and produced a scintillating front-running performance.
Ryan Moore went straight to the front of the group that raced down the middle of the track on the champion two-year-old of 2017 and he turned all of his rivals away up the hill to win in style from Brando and Fleet Review.
The son of War Front was achieving a notable hat-trick of Group 1 wins at Newmarket, having won the Middle Park States and Dewhurst as a juvenile.
He had been racing over a mile but the drop back to sprinting brought out the best in him and it seems certain he will be kept at sprint trips from now on.
“What he did last year was unbelievable,” O’Brien said. “What threw us was that he was able to win a Dewhurst, after setting a strong pace and he nearly won an Irish Guineas, probably the toughest mile any horse can run, and he was absolutely out on his head in the final furlong but still kept trying, so he’s an unbelievable little horse to be doing that. He shouldn’t have been able to do that.
“To come back after running a hard mile at Ascot [in the St James’s Palace Stakes] is incredible. He’s got a lot of natural speed. We knew he was out of a Galileo mare and one thing he wasn’t going to do when Brando came to challenge was stop, and he didn’t.
“We were hoping that he would put on a performance today and obviously we have our eye on the Everest Stakes in Australia, he’ll probably have a little rest now, he’s had a tough time, then we’ll train him for the Everest.
“Speed is his biggest attribute but heart is his next biggest, he never lies down and is an amazing horse.”
BCS Career statistics
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