Sensationally backed ex-Singapore sprinter set to make Australian debut at Geelong
Having forced his way out of retirement, former Singapore sprinter Merchant makes his debut for co-trainers Jamie Edwards and Bruce Elkington in the $35,000 Geelong Cup Packages 22nd October Handicap (1200m) at Geelong Synthetic on Wednesday.
A six-time winner in Singapore, the seven-year-old boasts a second placing behind Rocket Man over 1200m at Kranji in 2011.
Formerly trained by Edwards’ good friend Cliff Brown, Edwards said the son of Fubu was sent to Australia to retire by his owner after injuring a suspensory ligament.
“He was sitting in the paddock for 18 months and the guy who was looking after him said to the owner ‘this horse is moving around the paddock really well, I’d be surprised if he has any problems’,” Edwards said.
“They got the leg scanned and the vet said there was no reason why the leg wouldn’t hold up to racing so the owner Greg Perry said ‘put him back into work, there’s no expectations but just see how he goes’.
“We’ve really taken our time with him. He’s had three trials and he seems to have come through them really well.
“Since we’ve had him here we haven’t had to have a vet even look at him, he’s been one hundred percent sound.”
After opening the $26 rank-outsider with TAB, Merchant has been sensationally backed into the $3.60 second favourite.
Confident the horse was forward enough to run well tomorrow, Edwards said he'd originally planned to run him in a heat of the Synethic Series at Geelong on Friday.
“He’s won on the Polytrack in Singapore so originally he was actually going to run in the Sythetic Series but when you have a five-horse metropolitan field, where he’s the bottom weight and it’s on his home track, I thought we’d give him a crack at metropolitan race,” he said.
“He’s done enough to race really well tomorrow.
“He ran second behind Rocket Man which is good enough form for a Wednesday Synthetic race but it was a long time ago.
“He’s a pretty good horse I just don’t know if we need to expose him to these wet tracks. If he performs well he might have a month off and we might look at those early sprint races before some of the better horses are wound up.”
Drawn the outside barrier of the six horse field, Merchant will be partnered by jockey Ryan Maloney.
Click here to view the full TAB market for the Geelong Cup Packages 22nd October Handicap
Click here to view the full fields, form and barriers for Geelong on Wednesday
By Ben Asgari – @BenAsgariRacing