Stradbroke Handicap winner Linton is closing in on his correct racing weight as he prepares for the Group 1 HK$20m Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Stable manager Troy Corstens said that Linton has almost regained the fifteen kilos he lost during the trip form Melbourne and the settling in period but the grey is back on his food and starting to pick up nicely.
“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,” Corstens told the Hong King Racing News.
“The horse is coming good. He’s back on his tucker now after taking a few days to settle in. He lost around 15kg on the trip over but he’s nearly put that all back on now. Just three or four kilos to go.
“Being stabled alone isn’t ideal but the Jockey Club has helped us out with a few things including a mirror in his box and that seems to have helped.
“Carolyn (Mason) is happy with him and she’s looked after the horse ever since he joined our stable. We haven’t done a great deal with him here in Hong Kong but he’s not a gross horse. He doesn’t take a lot of work but he will probably have a more serious workout on Thursday morning.”
Corstens knows that Sunday’s race is the strongest field the grey has come up against including the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) he won at Eagle Farm during the winter.
“The Mile looks an exceptional race this year. It’s certainly the toughest race he’s 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 will be having his first run for eight weeks but trainer John Sadler is not worried about taking on a such a strong field virtually first-up.
The seven year old hasn’t raced since finishing three and a half lengths eighth to Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12.
He as then due to run in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 9 but had to be scratched after developing an elevated temperature in the lead days up to the race.
French mare Moonlight Cloud heads the market order for the Hong Kong Mile at $2.30 with local galloper Gold Fun the second pick at $4 with Glorious Days and Sky Lantern sharing the next line of betting at $8.
Linton is regarded as one of the roughies in the field and is marked at $51.