A rejuvenated Linton ready for Stradbroke Handicap

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A rejuvenated Linton gets another chance to show his wares at Group 1 level when he lines up in the $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.


Linton (the grey) is primed for the Stradbroke Handicap after winning his 2nd R A Lee Stakes. Photo by Jenny Barnes.

The former Lloyd Williams owned Linton has been a great money spinner for the John Saddler stable with the six year old winning three from seven starts including his last two.

Linton won back to back Group 3 $150,000 R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 11 and that win followed a win in the Listed $80,000 Holdfast Insurance City Of Adelaide Handicap (1400m) at Morphettville on April 20.

“He’s been a different horse this time in since he came back from his spell at Mark Young’s place in Colac,” Sadler said.

“Mark is a wonderful conditioner of horses and he just sent him back to me in outstanding condition, he came back a much bigger and stronger horse and has really built on that foundation this preparation.

“He goes into the race as good as we’ve ever had the horse since he came to our stable but you’re talking about a Stradbroke Handicap so it’s not going to be easy.”

Linton didn’t fare very well at the barrier draw on Wednesday, coming up with twenty-one in the original draw but will jump from gate sixteen in the final eighteen horse field if all the five emergencies fail to gain a start.

Jockey Nicholas Hall will be hoping there is plenty of early pace on so he will be able to slot in midfield and hold Linton up for one last run at the finish.

Saddler is also anticipating a hot pace which is usually the case in the Stradbroke and if he can repeat his recent form will be getting to the line hard.

“It will really depend on how the race is run,” Saddler said.

“Obviously they’re not going to go slowly but what Linton is hoping for is a really hot tempo.”

“If he’s out the back getting the breaks then he might be the one getting over the top of them at the finish.”

Saddler has decided to put the blinkers back on the six year old hoping to lift him to the next level and the Flemington trainer was very pleased with his effort carrying the head gear when second to Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress in a jump out last Friday.

“He was really good in a jump out down the straight wearing blinkers and he’s been schooling here at Flemington over a few logs which he’s also enjoyed,” Saddler said.

“He seems as though he’s improved considerably since his wins in Adelaide going on how he’s been working and his jumpout.

“It makes me think he might have only been doing what he’s had to do at his past couple of runs.”

Linton has had plenty of experience racing at Group 1 level and has competed in a Cox Plate and a Melbourne Cup as well as numerous other Group 1 races.

The Galileo gelding has been placed at Group 1 level on three occasions with a third in the Australian Guineas as a three year old as well as a second in the 2011 Australian Cup at Flemington and third in The BMW at Rosehill at his next start.

Sadler thinks that Linton is well over the odds at $31 in a market order that is dominated by three year olds.

Anthony Cummings three year old Your Song has regained favouritism at $4.40 just ahead of last week’s Queensland Guineas winner Sizzling at $4.60.

Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette is next in the betting at $7 with Better Than Ready at $7.50 while last year’s Stradbroke runner-up Buffering is an $8 chance to go one better this year.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.


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