Solzhenitsyn is back to defend their 2013 Toorak Handicap title on Caulfield Guineas Day in Melbourne this weekend, the Robert Heathcote-trained champ one of big field engaged for the classic.
Running as Caulfield Race 9 at 4:55pm (AEST) on the bumper 10-race program, this year’s $400,000 Group 1 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) has drawn a field of 17 hopes.
Winner of the Toorak 12 months ago, the now seven-year-old St Petersburg gelding Solzhenitsyn will vie for back-to-back wins in the mile feature this weekend.
They’ve been in top form this time in starting with a second to Riva De Lago in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) and then their good third to Rebel Dane in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 29.
Getting back up to the mile for the first time since their Mayor’s Cup win back home in Brisbane during the winter, Solzhenitsyn is sure to relish the distance when they jump from barrier seven with Sydney’s Nash Rawiller riding.
The defending champ will carry a full six kilograms more than the 52kg light-weight they won with last year however, the equal 58kg top weight after weights went up 2.5 kg due to the non-acceptance of the injured King Mufhasa.
The other horse carrying 58kg on Saturday is then John Sadler’s upset Stradbroke Handicap champion Linton who has come up trumps with barrier two.
The talented grey resumed on September 29 and was a credible fifth in the Rupert Clarke where they also had 58kg and Jamie Mott riding.
Along with Solzhenitsyn and Linton there are five other Group 1 winners in the mix with former WA star Luckygray, the Mark Kavanagh-trained December Draw, Australian Guineas winner Ferlax, Yosei and British import Mutual Trust.
Throw into the mix the likes of Scone Cup runner-up Mouro and the progressive Scone Cup winner Speediness coming off a Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes fourth and it’s certainly an intriguing edition of the Toorak.
Another notable hope adding more interest to the race is Kerrin McEvoy’s mount Trevieres, the Markus Nigge-trained international racing down under for the first time.
With form around the best back home in France, the Gold Away gelding’s latest effort was a win over the Deauville mile on August 11 when carrying 57.5kg, their drop back to the new 54.5kg minimum on Saturday a big advantage.
See below for the full Toorak Handicap 2013 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2013 Toorak Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 9 – 4:55pm (AEST) – 12/10/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||400x5111x5||LINTON||John Sadler||Jamie Mott||2||58kg||110|
|2||6x30715x23||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Nash Rawiller||7||58kg||110|
|3||121x84x696||LUCKYGRAY||Robert Smerdon||Dwayne Dunn||6||57kg||108|
|4||0x83307x09||DECEMBER DRAW (IRE)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||14||57kg||108|
|5||1x1117x727||FERLAX (NZ)||Jim Conlan||Damien Oliver||17||56.5kg||107|
|6||0x76131x14||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||James McDonald||16||56kg||106|
|7||511311×700||BUDRIGUEZ||David Jolly||Luke Nolen||15||55kg||104|
|8||x30987x000||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Jason Maskiell||4||54.5kg||103|
|9||0113133×53||LORD OF BRAZIL (NZ)||Darren Weir||Stephen Baster||12||54.5kg||102|
|10||112x6212x2||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||Glen Boss||10||54.5kg||100|
|11||37166×5952||CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ)||David Payne||Craig Newitt||1||54.5kg||100|
|12||47x531411x||TREVIERES (FR)||Markus Nigge||Kerrin McEvoy||8||54.5kg||99|
|13||121182×320||DANY THE FOX (NZ)||Mick Price||Dean Yendall||13||54.5kg||98|
|14||7x47x90x80||MUTUAL TRUST (GB)||Sam Pritchard-Gordon||Chris Symons||9||54.5kg||98|
|15||9270916×81||BLACKIE (NZ)||Jarrod McLean||Damian Lane||5||54.5kg||98|
|16||211323×808||TRANSPORTER||John P Thompson||Michael Walker||3||54.5kg||96|
|17||155447×251||BASS STRAIT (NZ)||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||11||54.5kg||93|