Trainer Robert Heathcote is confident that Solzhenitsyn is in excellent condition ahead of his first-up tilt in the Group 2 Sebring Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Solzhenitsyn has not been seen at the races since he finished fifth in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June and he is set to race against a number of horses, including classy sprinter Rain Affair, who already have a number of runs under their belt this preparation.
The seven-year-old gelding has only won two of his eight first-up starts but began his autumn campaign earlier this year with an ultra-impressive third place finish behind Pierro and More Joyous in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and Heathcote believes he can replicate that performance today.
“I like to think that I have got him where he was in the autumn when we bought him down for the autumn and he ran so well behind Pierro,” Heathcote told Sky Racing HQ.
“We don’t really know until they get out and do it but I am happy with the horse.”
With Rain Affair in the race the Sebring Theo Marks Stakes is expected to be run at a quick tempo, which will suit Solzhenitsyn who generally comes from towards the tail of the field.
Heathcote said he won’t give jockey Jason Collett any strict riding instructions and is happy for the 2012 Toorak Handicap winner to sit anywhere during the run.
“I like to think that we are going to get a fast run race this morning with Rain Affair there,” Heathcote said.
“Hopefully something puts a bit of pressure on him.
“Solzhenitsyn is not the fastest horse that I have got but he is a very strong horse and he can sustain a long, powerful run.
“We will ask Jason to be where he is happy.
“He has good gate speed so wherever he jumps that is where I am happy to be.”
Heathcote is chasing his second Group 2 victory in Sydney after winning the Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) with Buffering in 2010.