Brisbane trainer Rob Heathcote’s evergreen seven-year-old Solzhenitsyn has gone back-to-back in the Toorak Handicap 2013 overcoming their age and the top-weight to take out the Caulfield Guineas Day classic for the second year in a row.
A bargain $10,000 buy for connections, the son of St Petersburg has now won over a million in prize money thanks to their stellar effort in today’s $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield Racecourse.
Coming via a third place finish in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, as they did to win their first Toorak, Solzhenitsyn carried a full six kilos more to victory this year than their 52kg light-weight from 12 months ago.
Given a gun run from jockey Nash Rawiller, the veteran raced like a horse half their age to become just the second seven-year-old in three decades along with King Mufhasa (2011) to take out a Toorak.
They are also the first back-to-back Toorak Handicap winner since Umrum (1999-2000).
“I think I’ve said it once before, but I’m lost for words,” Heathcote told TVN after the race.
“It’s really a sensation.”
Solzhenitsyn was beautifully positioned slotting into fifth behind front-runner Budriguez who set a cracking pace in the Toorak today.
It was Rawiller’s ride, the genuine speed and a split field that worked in the winner’s favour allowing Solzhenitsyn to hit the front with 150m to go.
On the line they had just over a length to spare from Markus Nigge’s French raider Trevieres in their Australian debut.
In a flashing finish it was then the nicely weighted Blackie, backing up from a three and a half length winning effort at Moonee Valley two weeks ago, who added value to the winning Toorak Handicap trifecta in third.
Heathcote confirmed that despite today’s winning effort Solzhenitsyn would not be going to this year’s Cox Plate.
“We’ll go onto the Crystal Mile now,” he said, speaking of the $220,000 Group 2 race at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, October 26.
“We had him paid up initially for the Cox Plate but Paul and the owners are very patient.
“Next year we’ll set him specifically for the Cox Plate.”
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2013 Toorak Handicap Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 9 – 12/10/2013
|1||2||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Nash Rawiller||–||7||58kg||$6F|
|2||12||TREVIERES (FR)||Markus Nigge||Kerrin McEvoy||1.25L||8||54.5kg||$12|
|3||15||BLACKIE (NZ)||Jarrod McLean||Damian Lane||2.25L||5||54.5kg||$21|
|4||6||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||James McDonald||2.45L||16||56kg||$9.50|
|5||13||DANY THE FOX (NZ)||Mick Price||Dean Yendall||2.55L||13||54.5kg||$26|
|6||14||MUTUAL TRUST (GB)||Sam Pritchard-Gordon||Chris Symons||2.65L||9||54.5kg||$41|
|7||9||LORD OF BRAZIL (NZ)||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||3.4L||12||54.5kg||$18|
|8||1||LINTON||John Sadler||Jamie Mott||3.6L||2||58kg||$7.50|
|9||17||BASS STRAIT (NZ)||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||3.8L||11||54.5kg||$10|
|10||4||DECEMBER DRAW (IRE)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||4.8L||14||57kg||$26|
|11||10||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||Glen Boss||5.2L||10||54.5kg||$8.50|
|12||5||FERLAX (NZ)||Jim Conlan||Damien Oliver||5.6L||17||56.5kg||$12|
|13||7||BUDRIGUEZ||David Jolly||Luke Nolen||7.85L||15||55kg||$51|
|14||16||TRANSPORTER||John P Thompson||Michael Walker||8.85L||3||54.5kg||$21|
|15||11||CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ)||David Payne||Craig Newitt||8.95L||1||54.5kg||$31|
|16||3||LUCKYGRAY||Robert Smerdon||Dwayne Dunn||9.7L||6||57kg||$15|
|17||8||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Jason Maskiell||11.95L||4||54.5kg||$51|