Trainer Robert Heathcote is willing to forgive his dual Group 1 winner Solzhenitsyn the worst run of his career and expects him to bounce back to form in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Solzhenitsyn was beaten just over twenty-three lengths when last of nine behind Side Glance in the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last Saturday only three weeks after winning his second Group 1 $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.
Heathcote and his team of vets couldn’t find anything physically amiss with the seven year old but the leading trainer believes he may have choked down during the race prompting him to add a tongue-tie for Saturday as well as putting the blinkers back on, replacing the winkers.
“It was most unusual for him to run so poorly last time, but we feel he had a very legitimate excuse – he choked down,” Heathcote told Racing Network today.
“He will wear a tongue-tie, which he has had all this week on the training track and he’s had no issue with that, and we’ll put his blinkers back on, which of course he wore when he won the Toorak.”
“Just forget it, he’s back to the mile and Nash isn’t worried about what happened last week.
“There will be a good speed in this race and that allows this horse to get into his rhythm, which is critical for him.”
“I suspect he’s going to bounce back in what is a very hot field with all of those top Sydney milers in it.”
Leading Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller is hoping to top off a topsy-turvey Melbourne Spring Carnival with another Group 1 win on Saturday.
Rawiller was the regular rider for the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente but was replaced after finishing fourth to Happy Trails in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5 and then had to watch as Damien Oliver steered the European import to win the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
But Rawiller was quick to climb back to the top of the tree and was successful on Kirramosa in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on Thursday adding to his Group 1 win on Solzhenitsyn in the Toorak Handicap during the Caulfield Cup carnival
Solzhenitsyn is at the good odds of $17 in the Emirates Stakes market order which has the Chris Waller trained Boban the favourite at $3.50.
Waller will also saddle up $6 chance Sacred Falls while Toydini is a $6.50 chance to turn the tables on Boban after finishing third to the four year old in the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 5.
Spurtonic from the Waterhouse stable is well in the betting at $7.50 after winning the Group 3 $150,000 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 19 while Speediness is a $9.50 chance after running second to Toydini in the Group 2 $220,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.