Buffering sizzles in Eagle Farm jump-out & on track for Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley
QUEENSLAND’S favourite horse Buffering looks poised to return to his best this spring after a dominant jump-out win at Eagle Farm on Tuesday.
Buffering set alight the course proper in his first serious hit-out, clocking 47.4 seconds (800m) to leave his trainer Robert Heathcote and regular jockey Damian Browne gobsmacked.
“Damian has obviously had a long association with the horse and he said ‘Rob that’s probably the best he has ever felt at his first-up hit-out since I’ve been involved with the horse’,” Heathcote said.
“The three key factors that Damian mentioned were his enthusiasm to do it was 10 out of 10, he jumped and pinged and ran like the Buffering of old and he pulled up totally clear in the wind and recovered very quickly.
“Even Kevin Thomas at Washpool Lodge, who has looked after this horse since he was a yearling when he spells, said when he sent him in that this is the best he has left my place.”
Buffering took all before him last spring, notching his first win at the top level in the Manikato Stakes (Moonee Valley) in October before claiming another two Group 1s in the VRC Sprint Classic (Flemington) and Winterbottom Stakes (Ascot).
But the seven-year-old is yet to win a race in four starts this year.
He suffered a minor head injury during the winter carnival but even Heathcote started to question whether several seasons of racing at the top level was starting to take its toll.
But both trainer and jockey are now upbeat there is more in store for Queensland’s iron horse this spring.
“It’s only early days yet but the signs are promising,” Browne said.
“I’m not sure what the competition was like (Tuesday) but they were about 10 lengths behind me and I couldn’t see them in my rear vision mirror anyway.”
Standing in Buffering’s way this spring will be the world’s best sprinter, Lankan Rupee.
The pair are likely to clash in the Moir Stakes, Manikato Stakes, Darley Classic and the Hong Kong International Sprint in December and Heathcote is looking forward to the rematches.
“Lankan Rupee is the best sprinter in the world at the moment but not by panels,” he said.
“He raced Buffering once and beat us in the TJ Smith on a heavy track but I know Buffering was not at his peak during the autumn.
“Even (in the winter) he didn’t show his usual ping off the corner and I really think my bloke can bounce back.”
Ontrack Thoroughbreds syndicate manager and form analyst Grant Morgan agrees.
“I’ve seen him do plenty of jump-outs and plenty of gallops and that’s the best I’ve ever seen him work (Tuesday),” Morgan said.
“He just did it so comfortably and his action looks fantastic and I wouldn’t be afraid to be having something on him against Lankan Rupee.”
Buffering will have another jump-out in a fortnight in preparation for his first-up run in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.