Maiden Of The Week

Linebacker (NZ)

Linebacker (NZ)

2 c Super Seth – Garden Of Swans by Oasis Dream
O: F W Cook, Mrs C M Cook, Finemore Thoroughbreds (Mgr: R S Finemore), D J Hines, M Angelos, Mrs C Briggs, M W Finemore, J D Melick, R J Miller, T P Ballard, T Charlton, Peake Racing (Mgr: P N Edwards), Prairie Racing (Mgr: Mrs T J Yap), M J Miller, S Miller, A Harmanis & N Socratous
B: GSA Bloodstock
T: John O’Shea
S: 2023 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale V: Haunui Farm P: John O’Shea Racing / Suman Hedge Bloodstock (FBAA), $160,000
W: HRC Motel Maiden 2YO Plate, 1300m, February 21, Hawkesbury

Linebacker (Super Seth) put himself firmly in the picture for the Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) at Randwick on April 20 when running out a hugely impressive debut winner at Hawkesbury on Wednesday.

Trained by John O’Shea, the youngster scooted effortlessly clear under Kerrin McEvoy in the closing stages of a 1300-metre maiden to finish a shade under four lengths ahead of the more experienced Bosustow (Blue Point) with Iceman (Rubick), another with previous racecourse experience, a further four and a half lengths away in third.

Bookmakers responded to the victory by making the colt the third pick for the Champagne Stakes, cutting his odds to $11 (from $26) in the pre-nomination markets for the Group 1. 

“He performed really well in the trials three or four weeks ago and showed that he’s got ability, and that’s what he showed there today,” McEvoy said. “He is above-average for sure.” 

Tom Charlton, representing the O’Shea stable, was relieved to see Linebacker pass his first race day test. 

“From the moment we’ve ever done anything with him, he has been the most professional horse,” Charlton said. “His stride is that big, he looked to handle [the wet] conditions well, he’s going to stay further and we’ll just see what plans are from here.”

Purchased by his trainer and Suman Hedge Bloodstock for $160,000 at Book 1 of the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale last year, Linebacker is out of the unraced mare Garden Of Swans (Oasis Dream), who was bought by Dean Hawthorne for 160,000gns at the 2017 Tattersalls December Mares Sale. Garden Of Swans is a half-sister to Group 1 winner Mukhadram (Shamardal). 

Linebacker is one of three individual winners for Waikato Stud’s first-season sire Super Seth (Dundeel), who has one lot catalogued at the upcoming Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in Melbourne. 

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