Buffering back in work for Brisbane winter
While most of the country’s best sprinters are well into their preparations, Buffering will have a low-key build-up to the Brisbane winter carnival.
The four-time Group One winner has come up just short of an elite victory in his home town and trainer Robert Heathcote will put his energies into changing the situation.
Heathcote has no thoughts of retiring the three-time Queensland Horse of the Year, believing the seven-year-old still has plenty to give,
The trainer decided to bypass autumn racing after taking Buffering to Hong Kong in December for the Sprint in which he finished sixth.
“He has been back for a couple of weeks and I like the way he has been going,” Heathcote said.
“It was tempting to head to Sydney in the autumn but I think for the good of the horse we will stay in Brisbane.”
“As for retirement you never say never but while he is rising eight he doesn’t know it. I have been spacing his races and provided he stays sound he will race on for a while yet.
“Look at Takeover Target and Temple of Boom they are just a couple of old timers who raced very well in their later years.”
Heathcote plans to begin Buffering’s campaign in the Victory Stakes at the Gold Coast on April 25, a race he won in 2011 and again two years later.
Buffering will then run in the Group One treble of the BTC Cup, Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap.
The trainer has added confidence about Buffering’s chances in Brisbane’s premier race, the Stradbroke Handicap, which will be 50 metres shorter this year because of the switch to Doomben while Eagle Farm is being renovated.
Buffering has not won beyond 1200 metres but has been placed in the Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and the Stradbroke (1400m).
Buffering won the Group One Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley first-up before finishing out of the money in the Manikato Stakes, Darley Classic and Hong Kong Sprint.
However, Heathcote does not believe too much should be read into Buffering’s three latest defeats.
“He got knocked rotten in the Manikato and only got beaten three-quarters of a length. He could barely walk after that run,” he said.
“I have no doubt it put us behind with him and that interference cost us wins in all three Group One races.”
Story courtesy Mark Oberhardt