Solzhenitsyn - 2013 Toorak Handicap
Solzhenitsyn - 2013 Toorak Handicap

Watch Solzhenitsyn winning the 2013 Toorak Handicap (Gr1)

(Image : ABC News - Footage : TVN Racing Network)

“Solzhenitsyn’s second successive victory in the historic Toorak,

confirmed his rating as one of the best milers in Australia, and made him

only the fifth horse in 133 years to double up in this Group One.”

When we reported last week on Solzhenitsyn’s Group One sweep of the “Toorak”, we were unaware that the son of Summerhill resident St Petersburg, had made himself a member of an elite club. According to the European Bloodstock News, his second successive victory in this historic event, confirmed his rating as one of the best milers in Australia, and made him only the fifth horse in 133 years to double up in this Group One. We’ve since seen the footage, and the comfort of his victory under top weight was astonishing, taking him past the R10million mark in earnings, by the way.

Solzhenitsyn was a $10,000 weanling purchase, subsequently sold to Hong Kong early in his career, but failed the vet. Followers of these columns will know that St Petersburg has been on a roll recently, and from slender opportunities, he’s already the sire of Group 3-placed Blushing Peter.

Speaking of resident sires, it’s a little known fact that Brave Tin Soldier left a handful of foals in America, before getting on the plane for his new home. We always knew he was the subject of a default sale before we got him, and that Coolmore generously allowed us to buy him at a reduced price on account of the forfeiture provisions of the initial deal: another illustration of what relationships can do for you in this business. That said, we were unaware he’d served a few mares before his repossession, so it’s a welcome surprise to know he already has his first winner in the appropriately-named Don’t Waste My Time, who skated home on Saturday at one of Maryland’s front rank racetracks, Laurel Park. Fourth on debut, and now a winner on his second start at the races, Don’t Waste My Time endorses what our jockeys have been telling us for a couple of months now. The “Brave Tins” have wings on them, and there’s every expectation here that they’ll reignite Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy-tale after 150 years of dormancy.

For a couple of weeks now, A.P. Arrow has been threatening to break into the news, and he did so in no uncertain terms on the weekend. Already the sire of a Black type-juvenile, (something of a surprise for a horse that didn’t run until well into his 3-year-old career), his daughter Flight Check has been screaming for more ground to show us her best. She got that on Saturday, and she also got a jockey who knew what kind of ride the A.P. Arrows have been looking for.

Piere Strydom is a master of pace, and he popped her out of the stalls at the head of affairs, allowing her to dictate into the Turffontein straight. When “A.P” first arrived, we thought he was the kind of horse whose progeny would get better with age and better with distance, and they’re just the type to handle the murderous 800 metres of the Turffontein straight. Just as the field looked to engulf Flight Check halfway home, Piere Strydom changed down, and there it was, just like A.P. himself: the margin a growing 2 ¾ lengths. She wasn’t alone though: the past fortnight has seen a litany of A.P’s counting the cash, Cristal Arrow, Allaquiver, Nondweni’s Filly and Autodrome, all of them reminding us “they just get better!”.

Whilst we’re in “globe-trotting” mode, the indomitable “Three Wise Men” have been it at again. De Kock, Malherbe and McVeigh excused themselves from the Ready To Run gallops, because they were otherwise “occupied”, and you never really know what that means with this lot. Turns out they were stocking the English larder with another raft of ex-Coolmore inmates. Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stables have been a fertile hunting ground for De Kock over the years, with acquisitions including Archipenko,Mullins Bay, Eagle Mountain and Master Of Hounds. Now he’s put his hands on the outstanding Royal Ascot winner, Gale Force Ten (by Oasis Dream, runaway hero of the Jersey Stakes Gr.3) and Flying The Flag (Galileo, winner of the International Stakes Gr.3)besides his earlier purchase of the Gr.1-performing Mars (Galileo) for his Newmarket yard, recently acquired by the most enterprising lady in racing, Mary Slack.

You can’t get a good man down: both Soft Falling Rain and Igugu were below par in the bog at Ascot on Saturday, but they’ll be consoled on the homeward flight by the thought of attending the Ready To Run sale next week.