Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
John Sadler’s upset Stradbroke Handicap champ Linton gets a shot at more Group 1 success this weekend with the gallant grey lining up against a smart field in the 2013 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield Racecourse.
Formerly prepared by Robert Hickmott, Linton has been with Sadler since last winter scoring four victories for their new trainer.
The biggest of those was in Brisbane back in June when they flashed down the inside on the Eagle Farm straight having overcome barrier 16 of 18 to take out Queensland’s richest race – the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
After a four month let-up the now seven-year-old Galileo gelding returned at Caulfield a fortnight ago.
It was a brave first-up run too with only a length separating the fifth-placed Linton and the winner Rebel Dane in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), and one the impressed Sadler.
“His best effort since he has been in my care,” Sadler told the Herald Sun of the run.
“It was a super run.
“He was three wide and facing the breeze all the way, yet attacking for the lead on the bend which was totally against the way he likes to race.
“He was exposed the whole journey and challenging on the turn which is not his go so to fight on like he did was unbelievable.”
They get another go at Caulfield on Saturday, this time stepping up to the mile for the $400,000 Group 1 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m).
While the Toorak wasn’t originally on the agenda for the $2 million earner, Sadler couldn’t pass up the chance at a Group 1 with the horse doing so well.
“This race was not on the agenda. He was going to have a month off but he has done so well,” Sadler said.
It’s a big Toorak Handicap field too this year, Linton to take on 16 rivals.
They’re the equal 58kg topweight too with the reigning Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn who is the early $5 favourite after their close Sir Rupert Clarke third.
The weights were raised 2.5kg to accommodate the non-acceptance of King Mufhasa, but Sadler believes the impost won’t be too much for Linton to handle.
“We’ll be topweight with 58kg but that won’t bother Linton,” Sadler said.
After winning the Stradbroke as a $20 outsider, the bookies aren’t taking the same chance with Linton in this Group 1, as they occupy the third line of Toorak betting at a quote of $7.
Sandwiched in between the two top-weights in the Toorak Handicap odds at $6.50 is then the Colin Scott-trained Speediness, fourth in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes last start.
Following the Toorak plans are to take Linton to the $220,000 Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day (October 26) before another Group 1 run in the $1 million Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 9.
If all goes well throughout the spring then Sadler is even considering an overseas bid for the gallant galloper heading to Hong Kong.
“He will go to the Waterford Crystal and a fortnight later to the Group 1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington,” Sadler confirmed.
“If he is still thriving, he’ll then go to the Hong Kong Mile.”
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