The new chapter of Stradbroke Handicap winning grey Linton is set to begin after the veteran landed in Hong Kong this week ahead of their big mile assignment on the famous Longines Hong Kong International Race Day next month.
Galileo seven-year-old Linton will no longer run down under, their eighth to Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) now revealed to have been their swansong Aussie start.
Linton began their career for owner Lloyd Williams under the guidance of Robert Hickmott, for whom they ran three Group 1 minor placings for including behind Cedarberg in the 2011 The BMW.
Flemington-based horseman John Sadler then took over the training of Linton in early 2012 after Williams sold them off following a dead last in the previous spring’s Turnbull Stakes.
Things got off to a good start for Linton under Sadler’s guidance as he won the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) in Adelaide that May.
They went on to successfully defend that title 12 months later before scoring their biggest career success this June with an upset win, thanks to a perfectly timed ride by jockey Nicholas Hall, in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in Brisbane.
Connections will now seek international glory for the ageing galloper with Linton set to step up to the 1600m again on December 8 for a shot at the lucrative HK$20 million (AUS$2.8 million) Hong Kong Mile (1600m).
Sadler revealed however that not only had Linton run his last race in Australia, but they’d also run their last race for him with Malua Racing’s Troy Corstens and former jockey Carolyn Mason to take over the horse’s preparation.
“It is disappointing to see him go,” Sadler told AAP.
“I think there is still some good racing left in the horse.
“He certainly wasn’t overtaxed when he was at Macedon Lodge or when he was with us.”
Sadler is also sad about being unlikely to be well enough to make the trip to Sha Tin Saturday week to watch his Stradbroke champ in the prestigious mile feature.
“The way I feel now I don’t think I’ll be going,” Sadler told Racing Network from his home in Melbourne.
He does however believe that being first-up on the back of an eight week break will not be a disadvantage to Linton who missed their shot at the Emirates Stakes on November 9 due to an elevated temperature.
“Running first-up after eight weeks isn’t going to be an issue,” he said.
Following their Hong Kong bid plans are to continue on the overseas’ circuit with Linton who could head to Dubai for the World Cup Racing Carnival there next March.
Another stable will then take over where Corstens and Mason finish off with the $2 million earner to race in the UK.
Linton is current in quarantine in Hong Kong and will be ridden by three time Melbourne Cup winning hoop Damien Oliver in the Hong Kong Mile 2013.
Originally Joao Moreira was to ride Linton in the feature as per the wish of owner Stefan Friborg.
However the Brazilian-born jockey was forced to relinquish the ride following a dual careless riding suspension that will see him watch the entire Hong Kong International Race Day from the sidelines.
Oliver, who scored his third ‘Loving Trophy’ this spring aboard the Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Fiorente, is also booked to ride Dandino, second in the Caulfield Cup and fifth in the Melbourne Cup this year, in the HK$15 million Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
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