2012 Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn returned to trackwork yesterday morning ahead of his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign that is set to begin in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 14.
Solzhenitsyn was one of the surprise packages of the 2012 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, winning the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) and finishing third in both the Group 1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m), and has been set for the same major races this year.
The rising seven-year-old is coming off a five week break, after his Brisbane Winter Carnival campaign that was highlighted by victory in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) and a strong fifth place finish in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), and according to trainer Robert Heathcote is in excellent condition.
“I’m really happy with him, he has come back well and looks fantastic in the coat,” Heathcote told Racing Ahead.
“He didn’t have an overly arduous campaign through the winter so I’m confident that once again we will see him at his best in the spring.”
Solzhenitsyn will return to the races in the Theo Marks Stakes in Sydney and Heathcote believes the St Petersburg gelding can begin his sprint tilt with a first-up victory.
“On his way down to Melbourne we are going to stop in Sydney for the Theo Marks,” Heathcote said.
“He raced really well fresh last preparation at Rosehill in the Canterbury Stakes, where he rain third to Pierro and More Joyous, and he has clearly shown that he can run a nice race fresh.”
Solzhenitsyn is aiming to join Saxony, Desert Breeze, Nicopolis and Umrum as the only horses to win back-to-back Toorak Handicaps.