Queensland gelding Solzhenitsyn produced a typically brave effort to win the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) for the second year in a row at Caulfield this afternoon.
Solzhenitsyn received a perfect ride from Nash Rawiller, fifth on the fence, and the race was run at a very generous tempo; with the quick pace set by Budriguez splitting the field in two.
Rawiller peeled out Solzhenitsyn with 300 metres left to run and the St Petersburg gelding raced away from the field to record an impressive win from French galloper Trevieres, who was making his debut in Australia, and Blackie who produced the best effort his racing career.
Leading Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote was clearly delighted with the victory and was quick to pay credit to jockey Nash Rawiller and assistant trainer Melissa Leitch.
“Nash Rawiller it was a gem of ride; he had him in the perfect position.
“He is a man of few words but he just gets the job done and that is why he is in the top three or four in the country.
“I have to thank Melissa Leitch, she travels with all my horse, and we got the job done last week with Fifi (Fire Up Fifi) and Buffering will next week and Solzy did today.”
Solzhenitsyn has now recorded two wins at Group 1 level and Heathcote is confident that the tough gelding can add to his racing resume in the final weeks of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, with the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) and the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) both on the agenda, but ruled out a tilt at the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
“We will go onto to the Crystal Mile,” Heathcote said.
“We had paid up for the Cox Plate initially but Paul and the owners are very patient and we said let’s get the job done this year and next year we will set him specifically for the Cox Plate.”
Nash Rawiller has been in the media this weekend, after being replaced on Fiorente for the Melbourne Cup, and was clearly thrilled to be back in the limelight for all the right reasons.
The leading jockey said the quick tempo of the race set it up perfectly for Solzhenitsyn but believes the horse showed plenty of courage to hold off the back-markers in the final stages of the race.
“There was a nice speed on that really helped him get in a lovely rhythm today,” Rawiller said.
“We couldn’t ask for the race to pan out more sweetly for him with the big weight but he was there to be cut down late and was just too late.
“He is a big strong horse and carried it really well; there are no excuses really for anything behind him because every horse had the chance to get on top of him.
“I am very proud of the horse and very happy for the connections.”
Solzhenitsyn joins Umrum, Nicopolis, Desert Breeze and Saxony as the only horses to win the Toorak Handicap in back-to-back years.
The Caulfield Guineas is just around the corner and you can receive double the odds for every runner in the field at Ladbrokes.com.au!
2013 Toorak Handicap Results & Finishing Order
|1||2||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Nash Rawiller||–||7||58kg||$6F|
|2||12||TREVIERES (FR)||Markus Nigge||Kerrin McEvoy||1.25L||8||54.5kg||$12|
|3||15||BLACKIE (NZ)||Jarrod McLean||Damian Lane||2.25L||5||54.5kg||$21|
|4||6||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||James McDonald||2.45L||16||56kg||$9.50|
|5||13||DANY THE FOX (NZ)||Mick Price||Dean Yendall||2.55L||13||54.5kg||$26|
|6||14||MUTUAL TRUST (GB)||Sam Pritchard-Gordon||Chris Symons||2.65L||9||54.5kg||$41|
|7||9||LORD OF BRAZIL (NZ)||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||3.4L||12||54.5kg||$18|
|8||1||LINTON||John Sadler||Jamie Mott||3.6L||2||58kg||$7.50|
|9||17||BASS STRAIT (NZ)||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||3.8L||11||54.5kg||$10|
|10||4||DECEMBER DRAW (IRE)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||4.8L||14||57kg||$26|
|11||10||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||Glen Boss||5.2L||10||54.5kg||$8.50|
|12||5||FERLAX (NZ)||Jim Conlan||Damien Oliver||5.6L||17||56.5kg||$12|
|13||7||BUDRIGUEZ||David Jolly||Luke Nolen||7.85L||15||55kg||$51|
|14||16||TRANSPORTER||John P Thompson||Michael Walker||8.85L||3||54.5kg||$21|
|15||11||CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ)||David Payne||Craig Newitt||8.95L||1||54.5kg||$31|
|16||3||LUCKYGRAY||Robert Smerdon||Dwayne Dunn||9.7L||6||57kg||$15|
|17||8||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Jason Maskiell||11.95L||4||54.5kg||$51|