Trainer Robert Heathcote believes that Solzhenitsyn looks as good as ever ahead of the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Solzhenitsyn started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a strong performance in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m), battling home bravely to finish second despite the race not being run to suit, and Heathcote told RSN that he was very happy with the performance.
“He did the same last preparation when he kicked off in Sydney with a really strong third in the Canterbury behind Pierro and More Joyous,” Heathcote said.
“He came back the other day and it perhaps wasn’t the perfect way to ride the horse.
“He showed a lot of courage coming up the straight and it showed that he had come back in good order.”
Solzhenitsyn stamped himself as a Group 1 contender when he finished third behind Moment Of Change and We’re Gonna Rock in last’s year Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and he will face an even stronger field in the 2013 edition of the race.
Heathcote admits that the St Petersburg gelding will need to be at his best to record his second ever win at Group 1 level but he is confident the tough gelding is close to peak fitness.
“It is clearly a Group 1 quality field and there are a lot of superstars so my bloke will clearly need to be on his game but we are pretty sure that he is,” Heathcote said.
“His work on Tuesday was super, he looks as good as we have ever had him and he has a reasonably good second-up record so we are confident that he will show up on the day.
“He is not the fastest horse I have in my stable but he is probably the strongest horse I have ever put a saddle on.
“If it is a sit and sprint it is not in his favor but in a genuinely run race that is where he is at his best.”
Solzhenitsyn will have plenty of opportunities to win another race at the highest level of racing; with the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) all on the agenda for the remainder of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.