Linebacker (NZ) Triumphs in Desperate Duel

2 April 2024

Linebecker (NZ) storms home to give Super Seth his first Group winner.

Showing stacks of courage to go with his obvious class, exciting Karaka graduate Linebacker (NZ) (Super Seth) kept his unblemished record intact with a winning black-type debut in Saturday’s A$250,000 Group Three Hyland Race Colours Baillieu (1400m) at Rosehill.

Linebacker was a $160,000 purchase from Haunui Farm’s draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2023. The two-year-old colt has now won both of his two career starts, earning A$161,550.

Always held in high esteem by his trainer John O’Shea, who bought him at Karaka in partnership with Suman Hedge Bloodstock, Linebacker made a big impression with a four-length win on debut at Hawkesbury on February 21. He was thrown in at the deep end on Saturday for his second career start, stepping straight into stakes company. But he showed that he belonged.

Ridden positively out of his inside gate by jockey Tommy Berry, Linebacker took up a position in second place behind the bold front-runner Anode (I Am Invincible). Linebacker moved up alongside that rival approaching the turn, but Anode rose to meet the challenge.

The pair drew well clear of the rest of the field and fought a desperate two-horse war down the Rosehill straight, and in the end it was Linebacker who called on all his fighting qualities and snatched a narrow but highly meritorious win.

“I pulled up with a lot of admiration for this horse,” Berry said. “There’s so much more under the bonnet than what you’ve seen today.

“A few things were against him. He’s gone from a soft track to a firm deck, and he handled that quite well. We also drew in and had that pressure from the outside – I think he’ll be better when he draws out a little bit and can take that time to get into his spot.

“He’s got such a big stride, and horses like that just need to bowl along and get into their rhythm. But he knows how to win, and it’s great for his connections.”

O’Shea was similarly impressed and is now working towards the Group One Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 20.

“He’s a real racehorse,” O’Shea said. “Further down the track, I think he’ll run a mile, a mile and a quarter.

“It was a big challenge for him today, coming out of a maiden at Hawkesbury and into a Group Three, and we had to ride him a bit different.

“There was plenty for him to learn, and he did a great job. He wants to be a racehorse. He wants to win, wants to stick his neck out. Tommy gave him a beautiful ride and taught him plenty. He’s on an upward spiral and has a bright future.

“Now we want the other two-year-olds to beat each other up in the Sires’ (1400m) next week and have a hard run. Then we’ll head into the Champagne with fresh legs and a nice young colt on the way up.”

Saturday’s Baillieu heroics made Linebacker the first stakes winner for Waikato Stud’s exciting first season sire Super Seth. Himself the winner of the Caulfield Guineas (1600m), the son of Dundeel (NZ) has made a big impression with his first two-year-olds this season and had yearlings sell for up to $700,000 at Karaka 2024.

Linebacker also became the sixth two-year-old stakes winner this season from 97 runners to have so far come out of Karaka 2023, joining Velocious (Written Tycoon), Bellatrix Star (Star Witness), Savaglee (NZ) (Savabeel), Archaic Smile (Saxon Warrior) and Beau Dazzler (NZ) (Ardrossan).

Vendor Haunui Farm
Purchaser John O’Shea Racing/Suman Hedge Bloodstock (FBAA) (New South Wales)
Breeding Super Seth – Garden Of Swans
Sale Lot 207, Karaka 2023 Book 1, $160,000
Bred by GSA Bloodstock Pty Ltd