Robert Heathcote’s Group 1-winning gelding Solzhenitsyn can press his claims as a genuine 2013 Doomben Cup (2000m) contender with a strong performance in the Group 2 2013 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) this Saturday.
The six-year-old has never run further than 1600m but with no 1600m Group 1 races at the winter carnival, Heathcote has no choice but to step Solzhenitsyn up in distance.
The leading Queensland trainer admits the distance is a slight query this weekend but couldn’t be happier with the condition of the horse.
“There has to be a question mark over him as he’s never run past 1600 metres but I’m delighted with his trackwork,” Heathcote told Racing QLD.
“He has to run a strong 1800 metres at weight-for-age but I’m happy with barrier eight.”
Solzhenitsyn hasn’t had the perfect run into the Gold Coast feature and was last seen running dead last in the George Ryder Stakes.
But that performance came on a slow 7 track and the start before he stormed home for third behind Pierro and More Joyous in the Canterbury Stakes.
The Hollindale Stakes is a proven Doomben Cup lead-up race, with recent horses to complete the double including Metal Bender (2010) and Above Deck (2006).
Last year’s Hollindale Stakes second and third placegetters Mawingo and Lights Of Heaven went on to quinella the Doomben Cup.
Thirty nine horses were entered on Wednesday for the $500,000 Doomben Cup which will take place on May 18.
There is no shortage of big names nominated including triple Group 1 winner Manighar and a big contingent from leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller headed by Ranvet Stakes winner Foreteller.
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