Australia’s roughie hope of taking out Sunday’s 2013 Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin, Linton is doing well according to their new trainer Troy Corstens who is pleased with their condition going into the famous showdown.
Australian-trained horses have a decent record in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m), worth AUS$2.8 million in prize money this year.
Green and gold gallopers to bring the trophy down under include dual winner Monopolize (1995-96), Bart Cummings star miler Catalan Opening (1997) and of course the great mare Sunline (2000).
This year we’re represented in the 14-horse Hong Kong Mile field by seven-year-old Galileo grey Linton who is a $51 outsider in the Ladbrokes.com.au markets for the classic.
Winner of this year’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in Brisbane, Linton has been transferred from the care of Victorian trainer John Sadler to that of Troy Corstens and Carolyn Mason who will oversee their Hong Kong and subsequent Dubai bid in March.
Malu Racing’s general manager and assistant trainer Corstens visited Linton on Tuesday morning and was really happy to see the horse doing well ahead of their maiden international start.
He watched them perform in a piece of trackwork on Sha Tin’s all-weather track and, while Linton wasn’t pushed to perform, they did everything right to indicate improvement heading into Sunday.
Last seen running eighth to Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12, Linton lost some condition during their trip to Hong Kong.
They’ve nearly put that weight back on now however, Corstens reporting they were looking in excellent physical condition.
“He’s back on his tucker now after taking a few days to settle in,” Corstens told Racing Victoria on Tuesday.
“He lost around 15 kilograms on the trip over but he’s nearly put that all back on now…just three or four kilos to go.
“He looks great in the coat. It’s always a little hard to tell with greys, but I think he’s the healthiest in the coat right now that he’s ever been.”
The champ will be aided by the booking of this year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver who will partner them for the first time.
Linton faces a mighty task if they are to score an upset Hong Kong Mile result however with talent aplenty among their rivals.
Hong Kong Mile odds are firmly led by Moonlight Cloud at $2.30.
The star French mare that nearly bought the winning streak of our own Black Caviar to an end at Royal Ascot last year shoots for her seventh Group 1 victory and hasn’t been beaten since a failed trip to the USA last November.
Other major dangers include the in-form Gold-Fun who won the traditional Hong Kong Mile lead-up last start taking out the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile over the same track and distance, the John Size-trained local Hussonet gelding Glorious Days and smart filly Sky Lantern prepared by Richard Hannon in England.
“The Mile looks an exceptional race this year,” Corstens admitted.
“It’s certainly the toughest race he’s (Linton has) contested and he’ll need all the luck we can get.
“We’re here with open eyes and under no illusions about how tough it’s going to be, but we’re still quietly confident that he’ll run well.”
Linton is expected to have another hitout on Thursday for his final piece of work before the Mile.
The Hong Kong International Race Day barriers will also be announced on Thursday.
You don’t have to be overseas to get in on the international racing and betting action this Sunday thanks to Ladbrokes.com.au’s top Hong Kong International Race Day markets.
So whether you’re tipping the deserving favourite or getting behind the Aussie-trained roughie in the Hong Kong Mile 2013, make sure you place your bets online at Ladbrokes.com.au for the best prices.