Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver has picked up the ride on Linton in the Group 1 HK$20m Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on December 8.
Oliver replaced Hong Kong based Joao Moriera who is currently serving a double careless riding suspension and as well as missing the Hong Kong International Race day, Moreira will also be out of action for the International Jockeys’ Championships in the preceding week.
Brazilian-born Moreira, the former Singapore champion jockey who has recently joined the Hong Kong jockey ranks was booked to ride 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,” Malua Racing’s head trainer John Sadler said.
But with his 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.
Troy Corstens, general manager for Malua Racing, confirmed on twitter today that Oliver would be replacing Moreira on Linton in the Hong Kong Mile.
“Damien Oliver now the confirmed rider for Linton in the Longines Hong Kong International Mile,” Corstens tweeted.
Oliver, who rode his third Melbourne Cup winner on the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente two weeks ago will be having his first ride on Linton at Sha Tin.
Linton was forced to miss a run in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 9 because of an elevated temperature and will go into the Hong Kong Mile first up for eight weeks but Sadler is not concerned.
“Running first-up after eight weeks isn’t going to be an issue,” Sadler told Racing Network.
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.
The Galileo gelding has been a regular Group 1 performer at the major carnivals over the last couple of years and was rewarded with a Group 1 victory in the $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm during this year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival.