Leading Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote is not concerned that his Group 1 winner Solzhenitsyn will head into Saturday’s Group 2 $300,000 A. D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast without having raced for a month.
Heathcote scratched Solzhenitsyn from the Group 1 $2m BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 20 after the track was downgraded to a heavy 10, but the trainer is unperturbed stepping up 1800m after not racing since finishing last of twelve behind Pierro on April 6.
Solzhenitsyn had won all his eleven races on good or dead tracks and was clearly not at home on a slow 7 in the Group 1 $400,000 The Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
Heathcote has stepped up the six year old’s work and was all smiles with a ten lengths win in 1200m jump out at Doomben last Tuesday.
“He won a 1200 metre jump out at Doomben last Tuesday by 10 lengths and his time was a second and a half quicker than any of the other heats over that distance,” Heathcote said.
“The 1800 metres isn’t overly testing but my biggest concern is the actual track itself.”
Heathcote is more concerned that big striding gelding won’t be comfortable on the tight turning Gold Coast track, saying that some horses just don’t handle it.
“I make no secret that it’s a horses-for-courses track more than any other in Queensland and we see it year after year in the Magic Millions that some horses simply don’t handle it,” Heathcote said.
Solzhenitsyn rose to Group 1 glory with a stunning win in the $400,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield in the Spring following some good lead up form.
The six year old had always shown promise since arriving from New Zealand in May 2011, but put the writing on the board with an eye catching third to Moment Of Change in the Group 1 $400,000 Clamms Seafood Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield the start before.
If Solzhenitsyn races up to Heathcote’s expectation, he could then head towards the Group 1 $500,000 Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben two weeks later with an option of going onto the Group 1 $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.