Trainer Robert Heathcote has confirmed that Solzhenitsyn will contest the 2014 BRC Sprint at Doomben on Saturday, despite being allocated 61 kilograms by Racing Queensland handicappers.
Solzhenitsyn returned to the races for the first time since he had a wind operation at the end of his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a fifth place finish behind Temple Of Boom in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 26 and Heathcote told Racing Ahead this morning that the plan was always to give the veteran gelding his second-up start under handicap conditions in the BRC Sprint.
“I am going to run him and the handicapper is going to give him 61,” Heathcote said.
“He is going to lump a big weight around, Nash Rawiller is going to ride him and it was always my plan to back him up later in the Doomben 10,000.”
Solzhenitsyn finished a gallant fifth in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) and Heathcote revealed that the $1.4 million event was the major target for the St Petersburg gelding during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Heathcote is hoping to have a two-pronged team for the Stradbroke Handicap, with Buffering also a chance to contest the race, and the leading Queensland trainer is hoping that the presence of both Group 1 winners will allow them to get into the race with reasonable weights.
“It is probably the Stradbroke, that is the race that will probably suit him,” Heathcote said when asked what the major target was for Solzhenitsyn this campaign.
“Buffering may still be heading to the Stradbroke, so with his rating and Solzhenitsyn’s rating we may get in with quiet a competitive weight.
“The horse has got a bit of freshness because he is recovering from a wind operation and seemingly it has gone well.”
Heathcote is expecting that Solzhenitsyn will take plenty of benefit out of his run in the BRC Sprint and said that he is happy with the way that the seven-year-old has performed in track work since coming back from his wind surgery.
“It was good this morning, as good as I could have hoped for,” Heathcote said.
“It was on the course proper at Doomben and he really hit the line with his usual enthusiasm.
“His work rider Melanie, who knows him so well, said that he feels as good as ever.”
Solzhenitsyn is a chance of being joined in the 2014 BRC Sprint final field by stablemates Fire Up Fifi and Fillydelphia, while Veewap will be saved for an easier assignment.