Trainer John Sadler believes that Group 1 winner Linton is ahead of schedule as he works towards a return for the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
The seven-year-old gelding has not been seen at the races since his memorable win in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June, when he came from the back of the field to win the race with a powerful late surge up the inside of the track.
Sadler told Radio Sports National this morning that Linton would make his return next month but is unsure what will be his first-up assignment with the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 27, the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 29 and the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 5 all possible spring launching points.
“Linton is really good,” Sadler said on RSN.
“I’m not too sure what he will resume in as yet but I am leaning a little bit towards the Gilgai because of the set weights and penalties there, he doesn’t come in too badly.
“He is ahead of schedule at the moment.”
Sadler has done a terrific job turning Linton from a plodding stayer who finished 21st in the 2010 Melbourne Cup (3200m) into a Group 1 winning sprinter.
The son of Galileo joined Sadler’s Malua Racing team at the end of 2011 after finishing at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and without a win to his name since his victory in the 2010 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
Linton had immediate success under the care of Sadler, winning the Group 3 2012 R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville and ran a credible fourth in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) before failing to fire in the Turnbull Stakes and Cox Plate (2040m).
Sadler made the bold decision to set Linton for a sprinting campaign during the autumn and he was rewarded when the gelding claimed the Listed Holdfast Insurance Handicap (1400m) and R A Lee Stakes on his way to his career best win in the Stradbroke Handicap.
The Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day and the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) are both possible targets for Linton if he returns to his best form in the spring.