Linebacker scores touchdown at Rosehill races

John O’Shea has confirmed Group 3 Baillieu winner Linebacker will bypass the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes and progress straight to the final leg of the two-year-old triple crown.

The emerging colt made it two wins from as many starts with a determined effort in Saturday’s 1400m contest, trailing leader Anode throughout and wearing down his Tulloch Lodge rival on the line to score by a half-head.

It was Linebacker’s first test at stakes level and just his second career start following a maiden romp at Hawkesbury last month and although his winning margin was narrow, O’Shea expected the colt to take great benefit from the experience.

“It was a big challenge for him today to come out of maiden grade at Hawkesbury and come here for a Group Three,” O’Shea said.

“We had to ride him a bit differently, so there was plenty for him to learn.

“He did a great job, he wants to be a racehorse, he wants to win, he wants to stick his neck out and Tom (Berry) gave him a beautiful ride and taught him plenty.

“He’s on an upward spiral and he’s got a very bright future.”

O’Shea will resist the temptation to back up Linebacker in next Saturday’s ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) where he would have to take on the likes of Golden Slipper winner Lady Of Camelot and third placegetter Storm Boy.

Instead, the trainer will stick to his original plan and head straight to the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) two weeks later.

“We just want those other fellas to beat each other up next week and have a hard run, get into the trenches and we’ll just come up to the Champagne with fresh legs and a nice young colt on the way up,” he said.

Linebacker started a $1.85 favourite with betting apps and nailed Anode ($3.90) in the final bound with Broadsiding ($11) best of the rest another 2-1/2 lengths in arrears.

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