The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Royal Merchant was tough again backing-up from a lead-up Group 2 win at the track to beat home her older rivals with a fighting victory in the Group 1 $502,250 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville.

2023 The Goodwood winner Royal Merchant

Royal Merchant (pictured winning the Tobin Bronze Stakes) was strong late to salute in the 2023 The Goodwood results at Morphettville. Photo: Jenny Barnes.

Following her victory over the boys in the Group 2 Tobin Bronze Stakes (1200m) at the start of the month the three-year-old daughter of Merchant Navy was too good again rising in grade for The Goodwood 2023.

Jockey Michael Dee continued his good strike-rate at the Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival guiding the upset The Goodwood winner home after covering ground throughout.

Royal Merchant jumped at big The Goodwood odds of $18 and ran out of her skin to come from a mid-field position and tear down the outside the closing stages.

She was challenged by the local Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained mare Another Award over the final 100m, but dug deep and fought back to snare the Group 1 victory.

“Unbelievable,” co-trainer David Eustace told

“I can’t honestly say we came here today thinking we’d win.

“Credit to her, she’s incredibly tough.

“She’s had to dance every dance, and we’ve served it up to her and she’s delivered.”

Another Award came off a second in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes, and the form out of that race was franked with the third placed Zapateo also running a brave third in The Goodwood trifecta.

The Goodwood result also saw the Maher/Eustace stable prepare their third Group 1 winner of the carnival after victories in the Australasian Oaks with Affaire A Suivre and the Robert Sangster with Ruthless Dame.

They came very close to another last weekend with Promises Kept running second in the SA Derby.

There remains a chance Royal Merchant could continue her charmed form with a potential trip to Queensland for the later Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival features.

“She’s been in work a long time and she’s very, very tough,” Eustace said.

“Strong 12 (hundred metres) is clearly right up her street.

“For a three-year-old filly to do that…if you look back at her campaign it’s been pretty arduous.

“She seems to thrive on racing…I don’t’ think we can say no just yet.”

About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.