Hong Kong Mile aspirant Linton in better shape than his trainer

By: Mark Mazzaglia
November 26th, 2013

Flemington trainer John Sadler is resolved to watching Linton run in the Group 1 HK$20m Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on December 8 from his home base in Melbourne.

Linton winning the G1 Stradbroke at Eagle Farm.

Linton winning the G1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm. Photo by Daniel Costello.

Linton has arrived in Hong Kong in fine order and is doing better than his ailing trainer who is giving himself little chance of making the trip to watch the grey run at Sha Tin on Saturday week.

“The way I feel now I don’t think I’ll be going,” Sadler told Racing Network from his sick bed.

Linton will be under the care of former jockey Carolyn Mason, now the Human Resources Manager at Malua Racing, while in Hong Kong and has reported that the seven year old has travelled well.

Triple Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver has been given the task of getting a second Group 1 victory for Linton who scored his initial win at the top level with a last to first victory in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm during this year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival.

Brazilian-born Joao Moreira, the former champion Singapore  jockey who has recently joined the Hong Kong jockey ranks was booked to ride Linton at the request of owner Stefan Friborg, but had to forego the ride after receiving a double dose of careless riding suspensions and will miss the Longines Hong Kong International Race Day.

With Moreira’s unavailability, Sadler was quick to snap up Oliver who also had been booked to ride Dandino in the Group 1 HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) on the same day.

Oliver, who rode his third Melbourne Cup winner on the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente will be having his first ride on Linton at Sha Tin.

Sadler is not concerned that Linton will be going into the Hong Kong Mile first up for eight weeks after the seven year old was forced to miss a run in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 9 because of an elevated temperature.

“Running first-up after eight weeks isn’t going to be an issue,” Sadler said.

Linton only missed a couple of days work before the Emirates and was back to normal on race day but Sadler decided not to risk the seven year old.

Sadler was then planning to run the grey in the Group 3 $135,000 TMB Printing Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) ) at Caulfield on November 16 but Friborg was keen to head straight to Hong Kong.

Linton was unplaced at two runs during the Melbourne Spring Carnival and only made up a little bit of ground at his latest outing when eighth to Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12.

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