Connections of Group 1 winning grey Linton will send the champion to Hong Kong this December to target the International Mile 2013 after their scratching from last weekend’s Emirates Stakes.
The Galileo seven-year-old, upset winner of the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) over subsequent VRC Sprint Classic winner Buffering in Brisbane during the winter, was withdrawn from the Emirates Stakes on Saturday.
Previously prepared by Robert Hickmott, the veteran galloper has been with Victorian trainer John Sadler since the winter last year enjoying a comeback.
This prep they’ve had just the two runs.
First-up was a brave fifth beaten only a length in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield where they ran wide throughout.
They were last seen running a disappointing eighth behind Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) on October 12.
Sadler was to give them a chance to atone in the Emirates however Linton was taken out of the race due to a minor bug that Malua Racing General Manager Troy Corstens said they were nearly completely over already.
“He’s much better this morning he may have just had a bug,” Corstens said Sunday.
“John (Sadler) just noticed that he wasn’t 100% so we decided not to take any chances and to pull him out.”
There’s a chance Linton will run this Saturday instead at Caulfield Racecourse having been nominated for the $135,000 Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m).
After that Corstens confirmed they were looking at the Group 1 Hong Kong International Mile (1600m) which would be the horse’s first overseas trip.
“There’s a possibility that he could run (at Caulfield) Saturday but we’re still full steam ahead to Hong Kong,” he said.
If Linton still looks like they need some extra recovery time however the crew are happy to leave them out of the Kevin Heffernan acceptances with plenty of time between now and November 21 when the official Hong Kong international meeting invitations are out.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow (Monday) morning after he has a trot and canter but he’d need to have a gallop (during the week) before he was able to run on Saturday,” Corstens said.
“We’ve just got to make sure that he’s bright and OK tomorrow morning and then we’ll make further decisions on Monday afternoon regarding whether he has a run at Caulfield.”
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