A change of plans by trainer John Saddler will see Linton head straight to Group 1 HK$20m Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on December 8.
Sadler had planned to run Linton on Saturday at Caulfield in the Group 3 $135,000 TMB Printing Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) after missing a run in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday because of an elevated temperature.
Owner Stefan Friborg was keen to head straight to Hong Kong and even though Linton would not have run since finishing eighth to Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12, Sadler said the gap in between starts won’t be a problem.
“Running first-up after eight weeks isn’t going to be an issue,” Sadler told Racing Network.
Sadler was forced to scratch Linton from the Emirates Stakes after the seven year old came down with a temperature last Thursday, but has responded to treatment and consideration was given to run on Saturday in the weight for age Kevin Heffernan Stakes.
“It was just Thursday and Friday that we were concerned about him; he seemed alright on Saturday but it would have been a big risk to run him so we had no hesitation pulling him out,’ Sadler told RSN.
Former Singapore champion jockey, Brazilian-born Joao Moreira, who has recently joined the Hong Kong jockey ranks will be riding Linton at the request of owner Stefan Friborg.
“Joao is a friend of Stefan’s and I’m a great believer in getting jockeys on their own dung hill,” Sadler said.
“It means a lot, they just know every move they’re going to make.”
Linton has raced at Group 1 level on fourteen occasions including unplaced runs in the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup but does have a Group 1 trophy in the cupboard after winning the $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Linton is also in line to head to Dubai following his stint in Hong Kong and Sadler expects the grey to be transferred to a new trainer if that happens.