The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Rob Heathcote’s smart Stradbroke Handicap Day winner Solzhenitsyn could be Melbourne Cup Carnival bound with Brisbane’s premier trainer naming the 2012 Emirates Stakes as a likely spring aim for the in-form galloper.
The five-year-old St Petersburg gelding posted their third win on the trot last Saturday with an easy one and a quarter length victory over Firebolt in the Listed Strawberry Road Handicap (1600m) at Eagle Farm.
In the run before they also defeated Firebolt, as well as the likes of third placed Ginga Dude, to win the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) at Doomben.
With their impressive winter form and strong performances over the mile Heathcote is looking at a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign targeting the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday November 10.
There is also a chance Solzhenitsyn will head across to WA at the end of the year to race in the $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) in mid-November.
“He is so strong and powerful and is effective from 1200 to a mile at least,” Heathcote said.
“The Emirates Stakes looks a nice race for him at the end of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and he could go to Perth for the Railway.”
Heathcote could also bring his stable ace Buffering over to Perth for the same meeting attempting to break their frustrating Group 1 duck in the $500,000 Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
Mossman four-year-old Buffering is assured of a 2012 Winterbottom Stakes start thanks to their second behind Peter Moody’s upset winner Mid Summer Music in the Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
Originally Heathcote was considering a December trip to Hong Kong with Buffering but indicated Perth and the Winterbottom was a more appealing option.
“There is a degree of difficulty in getting to Hong Kong and settling. From that view, Perth is more appealing,” he said.
“The Winterbottom has good prize money, is weight-for-age and the 1200m will suit.”
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