World champion sire Galileo has been dominating in Europe in recent weeks siring the winners of the Epsom Derby, French Derby and Irish 2,000 Guineas, his brilliance extending to Australia on Saturday where his talented son Linton (6g Galileo x Our Heather, by Centaine) scored a shock victory in the Group I BRC Stradbroke Handicap.
A dashing dapple grey, Linton has had an interesting career, starting his racing life with the Lloyd Williams team before being sold on after finishing last in the Group I VRC Turnbull Stakes in 2011.
When in their care, Linton was trained as a stayer and won the Group II MRC Herbert Power Stakes as well as placing in the Group I ATC The BMW and VRC Australian Cup, but a change of trainer has seen a change of tactics.
New trainer John Sadler has elected to keep Linton sharper and his four wins from eight starts since joining his new stable have all come at distances of 1600 metres or less.
Tuned up for the Stradbroke with two impressive wins in Adelaide, Linton arrived in Brisbane fit and ready to rumble, the only negative a bad barrier which saw him jump from 16 in a field of 18 after emergencies came out.
Given the perfect ride by Nick Hall, Linton settled at the rear and zoomed home hard along the inside fence to win the 1400 metre feature by the best part of a length over perennial Group I bridesmaid Buffering.
“It’s a special moment. He’s such a wonderful horse,” stable spokesman Troy Corstens told Sky Racing World. “John Sadler is just an absolute marvel.
“I always wanted to set this bloke for the Australian Cup. Sad’s said, ‘I think we can win a Stradbroke with him, I don’t really know that he stays’.
“I really questioned him so all credit goes to John because he picked this race out 12 months ago and it’s come off.”
It was the first Group I win for Linton, whose overall record stands at seven wins and six placings from 24 starts with prizemoney of $2million and change.
“He’s the kindest horse,” Corstens said.
“Everyone at the stable loves him.”
Originally a $275,000 purchase by Rogerson Bloodstock on behalf of Lloyd Williams from the Lyndhurst Farm draft at the 2008 NZB Ready to Run Sale, Linton is the best of two winners for his dam Our Heather, a minor winner by Centaine, who comes from a well known stakes family featuring Group I winner Sharvasti and horses such as Balmacara, Vedodara, Bhandara, Shastri and Jamieson Valley.
He is the 35th Group I winner for Galileo and is from his second last crop of Australian bred foals.