Robert Heathcote loves the honesty of workmanlike group 1 winner Solzhenitsyn. He is not the best horse to have come through the Queensland stable but he knows what he will get from the seven-year-old.
''He's not the fastest horse I have had, but he is certainly the strongest,'' Heathcote said.
''He is flat out breaking 35 [seconds] for 600 metres but he keeps coming whatever run he has had and will produce the same sort of sections.''
Solzhenitsyn will use the Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill as a springboard to the carnival and forms part of a Heathcote team that also includes Fillydelphia and Fire Up Fifi in the Sheraco Stakes.
Whether Solzhenitsyn can reach the heights of winning the Toorak Handicap again this spring will in many ways depend on luck in running.
''When things go his way he usually goes pretty close,'' he said. ''He is the sort you would like more of in your stables.
He ran fifth in the Stradbroke and considering the run he had [three wide throughout] he was as good or better than Buffering that ran second.''
The gelding by relatively unknown stallion St Petersburg appreciates a solid tempo in his races and is usually good resuming. First-up in the autumn he ran third to Pierro and More Joyous in the Canterbury Stakes.
''That certainly looks very good form looking back,'' Heathcote said. ''He was very wide and didn't give in. He is just a bloody tough horse and we have him forward enough for this, but when you take on a horse like Rain Affair, you know you will be chasing.''
Solzhenitsyn and Fire Up Fifi will head to Melbourne after Saturday and be joined by his speed machine Buffering, which will resume in the Moir Stakes later in the month.