Solzhenitsyn’s Stradbroke Handicap preparation is back on track after a gutsy display to win back to back Group 3 $115,000 Carlton Mid Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) at Doomben today.
Trainer Robert Heathcote had to be content with a Group 3 win after the stable missed the first acceptances for the Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup (2000m) to be run later in the day.
The leading trainer was unsure how the race would pan out after Solzhenitsyn draw the outside gate at the tricky 1600m start but Michael Rodd let the big gelding stride forward and crossed to the fence at the 1200m to set the tempo.
“It was a lovely ride. It was exactly what Michael told me he thought it was the best to do. Come out and have a look see what they’re doing, let him roll around the field, sat outside Michael,” Heathcote said.
From the 1200m to the 600m Rodd was able to run his own race in front before Michael Cahill on Transporter put the pressure on.
Solzhenitsyn and Transporter then raced head and head all the way down the straight in a two horse battle with Heathcote’s six year old proving too strong on the line to score by half a length with Epic a couple of lengths away in third spot.
“He took him on at the 600m and then it was a two horse war. Good for racing,” Heathcote said.
Rodd adopted the same tactics when he lead all the way in take out last year’s Lord Mayor’s Cup.
Heathcote now has three weeks to prepare Solzhenitsyn for the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.
“We’ve won a nice race, we’ll now freshen him up and go onto the Stradbroke,” Heathcote said.