Racing: Solzhenitsyn comes in from cold

By Robert Grant

Bay gelding has firmed to second favourite while More Joyous has eased from $1.60 to $2.

King Mufhasa (right) will try to repeat last year's effort in the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield today. Photo / Duncan Brown
King Mufhasa (right) will try to repeat last year's effort in the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield today. Photo / Duncan Brown

Punters are steering away from topweights More Joyous and King Mufhasa in today's A$350,000 ($438,600) Toorak Handicap, throwing their support behind Queenslander Solzhenitsyn.

More Joyous, who won the 2010 Caulfield feature, will carry 60kg, half a kilo more than last year's winner King Mufhasa, while Solzhenitsyn is on the 52kg limit.

A former New Zealander who has recorded seven of his 10 wins since joining premier Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote, Solzhenitsyn has firmed from $7 to $4.80 second favourite with the TAB, while More Joyous has eased from $1.60 to $2.

King Mufhasa was on the third line of betting at $7.50.

Despite the set against the mare, trainer Gai Waterhouse is adamant if she gets beaten, it won't be because of the weight.

"She might get beaten but it won't be because of the 60 kilos," Waterhouse said.

"She'll carry it easily, she's a really big strong mare and she's racing in great form.

"I know those set weight races for mares are not the real thing, but she's done it like a canter. She's done everything so easily.

"And I love seeing horses carry weight, I think that makes the races interesting."

Melissa Leitch, who looks after Heathcote's travelling horses, says Solzhenitsyn is better prepared for the Toorak (1600m) than he was heading into the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on September 30 in which he ran third to Moment Of Change.

"It's like he settled in from the Rupert Clarke. He's a lot happier and he seems to know the routine now," Leitch said.

"He's definitely improved from the Rupert Clarke in his work and his eating habits and we're quietly confident that with the 52 kilos he'll run a bold race."

Leitch acknowledged the champion qualities of More Joyous but said there would be no shirking the task.

"They say weight stops a train and hopefully it does because she's pretty good," Leitch said.

"I can't say we're going to beat her but we'll have a crack at her, that's for sure. He'll be very competitive. He's definitely improved and that's all we can ask of the horse."

The TAB also reported support for triple Group One winning mare Yosei who was in to $13 from $17 on Thursday.

Yosei will be on a seven-day back-up from her unlucky eighth in the Epsom Handicap and has the services of Glen Boss, who rode the mare in work on Thursday morning.

"The trip to Sydney and back hasn't worried her.

"More Joyous is a champion in every sense of the word but I expect Yosei to come out and run very well," Boss said.


-AAP

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