Navy King shows staying prowess

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  • May 20, 2024
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NZ Racing Desk

A two-time winner over sprint distances earlier in the year, New Zealand-bred Navy King suggested he might be better suited to a different role when he scored a big win in Saturday’s A$150,000 Sir Henry Bolte Handicap (2000m) at Flemington.

The three-year-old won over 1000m in January and 1200m in February, then had mixed results over 1200m, 1400m and 1600m in his following four starts. He stepped up to 2000m at Caulfield on May 4 and finished a close fourth, and his second attempt at the distance on Saturday saw him go up to a whole new level.

Navy King jumped from the inside gate, and jockey Daniel Stackhouse sent him forward in the first 100m to hold his position as others moved across from wider barriers. He eventually settled in third, then angled away from the rail just before the turn and pounced on the leader.

There was only ever going to be one winner from there as Navy King changed gears and bounded away, opening up a big lead down the Flemington straight. Saban produced a strong finish out of the pack to eat into that advantage, but Navy King was never in any danger of defeat and scored by a length and a half. The third placegetter finished another seven lengths behind Saban.

“It worked out okay from that inside gate today,” Stackhouse said. “He’s been a bit of a work in progress. I thought he ran a super race at Caulfield the other day – I was probably just a bit too patient and then he got held up at the wrong time.

“He’s a nice, sharp horse with good stamina. I wanted to let him go a bit further out today and he was happy to do that.

“I think he’s got a lot of ability. He’s just doing a few things wrong, but he switched off and relaxed a bit better with a change of bit today. If the improvement that he showed in this race today continues, I think he can develop into a really nice stayer.”

The Symon Wilde-trained Navy King has now had 10 starts for three wins and a placing, earning A$152,900.

A son of The Oaks Stud stallion U S Navy Flag, Navy King was bred by Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay.

The dam of Navy King is the O’Reilly mare Eliza Blues, who won two races and was runner-up behind Quintessential in the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) in 2012.


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