John Koster of Klawervlei Stud, the breeders of Linebacker, summed up the excellence of this horse, his sire Captain Of All and his trainer Vaughan Marshall after the running of the Daily News 2000 on Saturday.
Linebacker landed his third Graded race in succession and his second Grade 1, beating stable companion Rascallion with the popular Kommetdieding a further short-head back in third.
Jockey Grant van Niekerk also deserves the “excellent” tag after a superbly confident ride.
Van Niekerk confirmed Linebacker had idled after accelerating to the front in effortless fashion and reckoned he would stay the 2200m of the Vodacom Durban July “on his coconut”.
Koster said, “Linebacker has everything. He has temperament, looks, he quickens well off a pace, he’s got speed and he can stay. He is the real deal.”
Speaking about Linebacker’s silky smooth action he added, “He glides. Grant van Niekerk told me he gave him goose bumps going down to the start.”
He continued, “And he has an amazing temperament. Vaughan told me this morning you would not even know he was going to the races. He wakes up, does what he has to do, eats his food up … he is just a one of a kind type of horse.”
Koster had sent Linebacker’s dam Thin Red Line, an Australian-bred by Redoute’s Choice, three times to Klawerveli’s late great champion stallion Captain Al.
He recalled, “The best she produced from Captain Al was a three-time winner. But I still wanted to stick to the Roberto line, so out of desperation I sent her to Captain Al’s son Captain Of All, not expecting him to produce anything better than his father did … and he’s upgraded the mare. So, it’s a fantastic result. It’s fantastic to see Captain Al siring a son who has sired a Group 1 winner. This is a great boost for his other sons at stud too. Captain Al has done extremely well as a Broodmare Sire and he is now a Sire of Sires.”
This also augurs well for Vaughan Marshall. Vaughan not only trained Captain Al to Grade 1 success but he has also won numerous Grade 1s with his sons and daughters.
Captain Of All was trained by Dennis Drier and was a champion sprinter so it is strange that he is siring horses who stay.
Koster said, “Linebacker’s dam was also fast (she won the Grade 3 Fillies Mile and her only two other wins were over 1000m, although she did place over 1800m and 2000m) and we all know how fast Captain Of All was!
Linebacker himself looks like a stamina horse. He’s got a lot of scope, he’s on the leg, he’s a very classy horse, so he doesn’t look like his father at all. Captain Of All is quite low to the ground, he is very powerful, he’s almost a dumpy looking horse, but unlike his father he is throwing a lot of horses who look like English thoroughbreds. He is throwing them on the leg, with a lot more scope and a lot of quality, they look like they will be milers, which defies logic. You would think he would throw out and out sprinters, but thankfully they are not and this is what makes him such an exciting stallion. I can only put it down to his English ancestors -Tudor Minstrel, Tudor Melody, Court Martial, all those type of horses, and he has got a lot of that blood in him.”
Marshall picked Linebacker at the Sales and Koster said, “Vaughan Marshall is one of the great pickers in the game. He doesn’t pay a lot of money for horses and he’s bought some crackers at very cheap prices. So, when he sees something that is nice and he is able to buy them you must know they are proper horses.”
Marshall landed Linebacker for R425,000 at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale. The gelding now races for Cheryl Gabler in partnership with Ken and Jane Truter.
Linebacker will be attempting to emulate Big City LIfe’s 2009 feat and Legislate’s 2014 feat by winning the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby, the Grade 2 WSB Guineas, the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and the Vodacom Durban July in one season.