A return to a good racing surface will see local chance Solzhenitsyn reproduce his Group 1 winning form in the Group 2 $358,000 Wimmers Soft Drinks A. D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The Robert Heathcote trained Solzhenitsyn took out the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield in the Spring on a good track but failed to handle the slow 7 when last of twelve behind Pierro in the Group 1 $400,000 The Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 6.
The six year old then headed to the Group 1 $2m BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick but Heathcote pulled the pin when the track was downgraded to a heavy 10 and will now go into Saturday’s race with a month in between runs.
The Gold Coast track is currently rated a dead 4 and with fine weather forecast for the remainder of the day and the weekend, jockey Damian Browne is looking forward to getting Solzhenitsyn back on top of the ground.
“Pierro went around him and he couldn’t sprint with him, he hit a wet patch and he never came out the other side,” Brown said referring to Ryder Stakes run.
“He’s a big horse and you really need to keep momentum. The 1800m at the Gold Coast isn’t the most testing so I think he will be ready to run a big race.”
Prior to the George Ryder, Solzhenitsyn had run a slashing third to Pierro in the Group 1 $350,000 Cellarbrations Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on March 23 and both Heathcote and Brown thought they were in for a great campaign with the former New Zealand galloper.
Solzhenitsyn is on the third line of betting at $4.50 with the back in-form Lights Of Heaven posted the $3 favourite ahead of the Chris Waller trained Foreteller at $3.80.
Lamasery, who won the Group 2 $200,000 Bacardi Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in the Spring is next in the market at $9 with John O’Shea’s Lightinthenite at $12.
Larry Cassidy who replaces brother Jim Cassidy on Danleigh ($12) is expecting the nine year old to be right in the finish after an encouraging fifth to stable mate Sacred Falls in the Doncaster Mile.
Even though Danleigh hasn’t been in the winner’s circle since taking out the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm last Spring, the warhorse is still racing with zest and has Group 1 and Group 2 placings to his credit this Autumn and has been posted a $13 chance.