Aidan O’Brien has paid tribute to Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Merchant Navy following his retirement to stud, the Racing Post report.

The son of Fastnet Rock joined O’Brien earlier on this year with the target of picking up a win at Royal Ascot this summer, and last weekend did just that after holding off a late surge from City Light to land the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

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Before his Ascot triumph, Merchant Navy also made a successful Irish debut, winning the Group 2 Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh back in May.

O’Brien was hoping Merchant Navy might get to run at Newmarket in July, however, the colt will now enter quarantine in Ireland before travelling to Coolmore Australia.

Trainer O’Brien was quick to praise the colt, describing him as a ‘special horse’.

Merchant Navy proved himself a very special horse. For a three-year-old to come from Australia and win like he did at the Curragh and Royal Ascot while being weighted as an older horse was remarkable.

He was actually 12lb wrong in the Diamond Jubilee. Only a horse with such natural speed and wonderful temperament like he has could do it.

In 10 career starts, Merchant Navy won on an impressive seven occasions, earning almost one million in prize money along the way. Not a bad return.