Solzhenitsyn winning the Toorak under Corey BrownPICTURE: Getty Images
Solzhenitsyn causes upset in Toorak
Report: Australia, Saturday
Caulfield: Toorak Handicap (Group 1) 1m, 3yo+
A late change of plans and a horse who "can do almost anything" have given Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote his greatest day at the races and upset one of the stars of the Australian turf.
Solzhenitsyn, a horse who cost a mere $10,000, stormed to a long neck victory in the Group One Toorak Handicap, and made Caulfield by far his trainer's favourite racecourse.
"I've only won two Group One races and they were both here," Heathcote said.
The first came last autumn when Woorim won the Oakleigh Plate.
As much as Solzhenitsyn deserved his victory, the sentiment in the race rode with the favourite More Joyous.
One of the outstanding performers of the Australian turf, More Joyous had been asked to carry 60kg to what would have been her 22nd win.
More Joyous: only finished fourthPICTURE: Racingandsports.com.au
But the weight and a wide early run told and she faded to finish fourth, three lengths from the winner.
Solzhenitsyn ($5) carried 8kg less than More Joyous, as did runner-up Spirit Song ($21) while third placegetter Yosei ($14) received 7.5kg from the topweight.
Heathcote said he had originally planned to push forward, but changed his mind after consulting part-owner Paul Willetts, the man who bought Solzhenitsyn as a weanling.
"I'd been thinking about pouring the pressure on and taking it up to them," Heathcote said.
"But we had a chat and decided there could be a lot of speed without us having to make it."
The tactic made all the difference with Solzhenitsyn cruising in midfield as More Joyous worked hard in the first 300m and then had to chase hard coming to the home turn.
Jockey Corey Brown then produced the winner at the 200m mark just as the effort told on More Joyous.
He then finished over the top of Spirit Song to score by a long neck with the same margin to the luckless Yosei in third place.
Solzhenitsyn's win followed that earlier in the day of his stablemate Buffering in the Schillaci Stakes and has virtually ensured the pair will race in Perth over the summer.
Before that he is scheduled to run in the Group Two Waterford Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley in two weeks and the Group One Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Flemington carnival.
Nash Rawiller was far from downcast about More Joyous' defeat in a race she won two years ago.
"When the pace come off I was forced to go around them and sit outside the lead which she can normally overcome quite easily but it was pretty testy out there today with the big weight," he said.
"I was more than happy with the run."
Michael Rodd said last year's winner King Mufhasa wasn't comfortable when he couldn't adopt his usual front-running tactics.
"He didn't appreciate being held up in amongst the horses," Rodd said. He raced a bit plain."
Also on Saturday
Caulfield: Caulfield Stakes (Group 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+
Glen Boss says he will be riding the right horse in the Cox Plate after New Zealander Ocean Park (Gary Hennessy) completed a hat-trick of Group 1 wins.
Ocean Park, the 1-2 favourite, backed up from victories in last month's Mafki Challenge in his homeland and the Underwood Stakes to underline his Cox Plate claims. "I think he's the right horse, I really do," Boss said.