Solzhenitsyn wins the Toorak Handicap for St Petersburg
Solzhenitsyn wins the Toorak Handicap for St Petersburg

Solzhenitsyn by St Petersburg wins the Toorak Handicap (G1) at Caulfied

(Photo : The Australian)


Caulfield, Turf, 1600m

13 October 2012

A late change of plans and a horse who “can do almost anything” have given Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote his greatest day at the races and upset one of the stars of the Australian turf in More Joyous.

Solzhenitsyn (Aus) (St Petersburg - Tri Victory), a horse who cost a mere $10,000, stormed to a long neck victory in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap, and made Caulfield by far his trainer’s favourite racecourse. “I’ve only won two Group 1 races and they were both here,” Heathcote said. The first came last autumn when Woorim won the Oakleigh Plate.

Heathcote said he had originally planned to push forward, but changed his mind after consulting part-owner Paul Willetts, the man who bought Solzhenitsyn as a weanling. “I’d been thinking about pouring the pressure on and taking it up to them,” Heathcote said. “But we had a chat and decided there could be a lot of speed without us having to make it.”

The tactic made all the difference with Solzhenitsyn cruising in midfield as More Joyous worked hard in the first 300m and then had to chase hard coming to the home turn. Jockey Corey Brown then produced the winner at the 200m mark just as the effort told on More Joyous. He then finished over the top of Spirit Song to score by a long neck with the same margin to the luckless Yosei in third place.

Solzhenitsyn’s win followed that earlier in the day of his stablemate Buffering in the Schillaci Stakes and has virtually ensured the pair will race in Perth over the summer.

Before that, he is scheduled to run in the Group 2 Waterford Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley in two weeks and the Group One Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington Carnival.

Nash Rawiller was far from downcast about More Joyous’ defeat in a race she won two years ago. “When the pace come off I was forced to go around them and sit outside the lead which she can normally overcome quite easily but it was pretty testy out there today with the big weight,” he said. “I was more than happy with the run.”

Michael Rodd said last year’s winner King Mufhasa wasn’t comfortable when he couldn’t adopt his usual front-running tactics. “He didn’t appreciate being held up in amongst the horses,” Rodd said. He raced a bit plain.”

St Petersburg stands at Summerhill Stud in South Africa.

Click here to watch the race video on YouTube

Extract from Racing Post