Brisbane’s premier trainer Rob Heathcote bought his best form to Melbourne for Caulfield Guineas Day bagging a double that was completed by smart six-year-old Solzhenitsyn in an upset 2012 Toorak Handicap result.
Earlier in the day Heathcote’s ace sprinter Buffering was in the winner’s stall after their Group 2 Schillaci Stakes success before St Petersburg gelding Solzhenitsyn handed Heathcote with just his Group 1 victory, the first also at Caulfield with Woorim in this year’s Oakleigh Plate, taking out the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
It was a magic result for the horse and connections, Solzhenitsyn a bargain buy for just $10,000 by their current owners who also snared Buffering for a steal – $22,000.
“What a thrill, a Group 2 and Group 1 number two, it’s just awesome, I’m lost for words,” Heathcote said after the Toorak.
“The horse came to me in great order.
“I remember the very first day I started him he flew home from last to run fourth and I said this horse will be on the front pages of the newspaper one day.”
Coming off an eye-catching third in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) which was the former Kiwi’s maiden Melbourne run, Solzhenitsyn relished their 52kg lightweight in the Toorak Handicap today.
Race favourite was Gai Waterhouse’s eight-time Group 1 winning mare More Joyous who, after having to do lots of work early to get into second position off the leader Steps In Time with her hefty 60kg topweight, failed to finish off the race or perform under those kilos.
It was a similar story for defending Toorak champ King Mufhasa who also faded badly in the final stages.
John O’Shea’s last-start Bill Ritchie Handicap winner Steps In Time held the lead in an even-tempo Toorak onto the straight with More Joyous and jockey Nash Rawiller trying to chase her down.
The pace started to step up by the time they got to the 600m however and those working hard early started to show signs of weariness.
A dashing Aaron Purcell-trained Spirit Song who’d settled off the pace before striking late then took up the lead with 200m left to travel.
However it was another galloper who’d sat off the speed that pinged home for the Group 1 win, Solzhenitsyn and jockey Corey Brown finishing off too well for the rest of the field.
On the line Solzhenitsyn ($5) had a long neck to spare over a brave Spirit Song ($21) while triple Group 1 winner Yosei ($14) ran an outstanding race to cross the same distance away third to finish off a Toorak Handicap trifecta result that was a dream for the bookies.
More Joyous ($2.30F) eventually finished a distant fourth beaten three and a quarter lengths, King Mufhasa ($29) further quarter length away in fifth.
“Full credit to Robert Heathcote and his table up in Brisbane,” Brown said.
“He’s (the horse has) had the audacity to run for the line and he’s doing his best work late.
“I knew there would be no dramas getting the mile it’s looking his best trip.
“I had no weight on my back….It’s great to be back in the winners’ circle.”
Heathcote will now back Solzhenitsyn up in the $220,000 Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day in a fortnight before progressing onto the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Saturday November 10.
“Inadvertently I’d paid him up for the Cox Plate but connections said he wouldn’t get the class,” Heathcote said.
“But we’ll go towards the Waterford Crystal Mile and then the Emirates Stakes.”
The official 2012 David Jones Rose Clinic Toorak Handicap results, margins and finishing order are listed below.
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2012 Caulfield Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Guineas Day Race 5 – 13/10/2012
|1||7||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||–||Corey Brown||3||52kg||$5|
|2||8||SPIRIT SONG||Aaron Purcell||Craig Williams||0.4L||1||52kg||$21|
|3||4||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Glen Boss||0.8L||9||52.5kg||$14|
|4||1||MORE JOYOUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||3.3L||4||60kg||$2.30F|
|5||2||KING MUFHASA (NZ)||Stephen Mckee||Michael Rodd||3.7L||2||59.5kg||$9|
|6||9||TOKUGAWA||Leon Corstens||Steven King||4.1L||8||52kg||$17|
|7||5||STEPS IN TIME||John O’Shea||Craig Newitt||4.3L||5||52kg||$14|
|8||6||ILLO (GER)||Bart Cummings||Michael Walker||5.8L||7||52kg||$41|
|9||3||GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE)||Michael Moroney||James McDonald||11.8L||10||56.5kg||$9|
|10||10||ULUNDI||Pat Carey||Timothy Bell||12.55L||6||52kg||$201|