Wet tracks could once again stand in the way of trainer Robert Heathcote’s Winter Carnival aspirations with Solzhenitsyn not a certain starter at Doomben on Saturday if the track doesn’t improve over the next few days.
Solzhenitsyn ploughed through the heavy conditions on the course proper at Doomben on Tuesday morning working with stablemate Fire Up Fifi with Heathcote saying the track would have to improve drastically by the weekend for the six year old to run.
“Fire Up Fifi probably just shaded Solzhenitsyn in her work today, but that was because it was on that type of going. Solzhenitsyn will come out if it’s wet on Saturday,” Heathcote said.
Heathcote’s chances of winning last Saturday’s Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm with favourite Buffering nosedived when the course was hit by heavy showers and downgraded to a heavy 9 prior to the race.
Buffering added to his woes by missing the start and was then posted three deep and beaten almost seven lengths by Anthony Cummings’ three year old Your Song.
Heathcote missed the first acceptances with Solzhenitsyn for the Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup (2000m) this Saturday and has selected the Group 3 $115,000 Carlton Mid Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) if he sends him around this weekend.
But Heathcote is not perturbed if he misses this Saturday because of a wet track and will go straight into the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 without another run.
“If we don’t run on Saturday we would just go into the Stradbroke fresh, and I reckon that would work really well as I have got a good fitness foundation into the horse anyway,” Heathcote said.
If he doesn’t run this weekend it will mean that Solzhenitsyn will go into the Stradbroke five weeks without a run after finishing seventh at the Gold Coast on May 4 in the Group 2 $358,000 Wimmers Soft Drinks A. D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m).
Solzhenitsyn’s Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign was also interrupted by wet tracks and after running a bottler of a race first up on a good track in the Group 1 $350,000 Cellarbrations Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on March 23 when third to Pierro, the Toorak Handicap winner fell foul to Sydney’s wet weather.
The six year old failed to beat a runner home on a slow 7 when twelfth to Pierro in the Group 1 $400,000 The Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 6 then Heathcote scratched him from the Group 1 $2m BMW Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 20 after Randwick was downgraded to a heavy 10 during the day.
Solzhenitsyn has come up with the outside barrier of the twelve runners in the weight for age Lord Mayor’s Cup which includes Peter Moody’s two imports Voila Ici (gate 7) and Ibicenco (9).
Patinack Farm trainer John Thompson will saddle up Transporter who will be one of the top fancies after a slashing third to Lights Of Heaven and Foreteller in the A. D. Hollindale Stakes and will also be respresented by Shamardashing and Onetimeatbandcamp.
Solzhenitsyn is currently a $15 chance in the Stradbroke with BTC Cup winner Your Song heading the market at $4 ahead of Epaulette at $7.50 and Buffering at $8.00.