You will not often hear connections use phrases such as “just no application whatsoever” and “he’s done that, not even trying” following a win. However, they were the sentiments of both trainer and jockey following Merchant Prince’s victory at Pakenham on Thursday (Jan 27).
The Phoenix Thoroughbreds co-owned colt was having just his second start and showed significant talent among some bad behaviour to get off the mark. Dumping his rider and flattening a barrier attendant even before he got started, the son of Written Tycoon was still trying to show jockey Blaike McDougall who was boss in the early stages of the strong looking 1200m maiden. To the rider’s credit, he kept him in touch and the juvenile eventually showed his ability in the final 200 meters to finish well and win with a bit in hand.
“He is a colt with good ability, but he disappointed at Caulfield and did not apply himself at all,” Trainer Peter Moody told Racing.com post-race. “Even with the blinkers on tonight, I doubt he is applying himself. He thinks it is a big game and has not got his mind on the job.
“He possesses good talent but no application whatsoever.
“We paid him up for the Blue Diamond this morning. He won that more like a seven-furlong – mile type of horse, but we might find that was a good quality two-year-old race.
“We have to outthink him like he is doing to us, and I suggest he might be doing some jumping and going over logs to mix it up and keep his mind on the job.
“If he doesn’t apply himself and learns too many bad habits, that will be the end of his manhood.”
The view of the run from the saddle was pretty similar, with McDougall adding.
“It was a good win. He jumped well, considering he had blinkers on for the first time and the plan was always to go on a build from there as he doesn’t really show a turn of foot at home. We ended up getting a lead from the two going forward. He’s frustrating because he’s done that without even trying, but it’s nice to get the job done!”