Robert Heathcote-trained Solzhenitsyn will have throat surgery after it was discovered, following his disappointing performance in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday, that part of his breathing apparatus had collapsed.
Solzhenitsyn finished at the tail of the field after choking down in the Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington, with vets unable to find any abnormalities, but the throat issue was found after he choked down again in the Emirates Stakes.
Heathcote told Sky Racing HQ that Solzhenitsyn will have surgery in Brisbane and is confident that the veteran galloper will be able to return to the track in time for the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
“Solzhenitsyn has developed a problem and part of breathing apparatus in his throat has collapsed,” Heathcote said.
“Basically his larynx down the back of his throat, which controls his breathing, one side of it has become partially paralysed.
“He is going to require a surgery to correct that issue.
“In years gone by it may have been a hit-and-miss operation, but now the success rate is 70-75 per cent.”
The 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign of Solzhenitsyn may not have ended how Heathcote would have liked but he was still thrilled with the overall preparation of the son of St Petersburg.
Solzhenitsyn started his campaign with an unlucky second place finish behind Riva De Lago in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) and he looked the winner when running a narrow third behind Rebel Dane and Fontelina in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) two weeks later.
The seven-year-old was allocated the top weight of 58kg for the Group 1 Toorak Handicap but was able to lump the heavy weight to victory and join Umrum, Nicopolis, Desert Breeze and Saxony as the only horses that have won the race in back-to-back years.
Heathcote finished the Melbourne spring with three Group 1 victories, with leading sprinter Buffering taking out the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m), and will have the chance to pick up a couple more wins at the highest level of racing when he takes Buffering and Fire Up Fifi to Perth.
Buffering will have the opportunity to record his third straight win at Group 1 level in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), while Fire Up Fifi will take on Luckygray and Mr Moet in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m).