Trainer Robert Heathcote has confirmed champion sprinter and local hero Buffering will not contest the major Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7th, but will instead return to the spelling paddock ahead of a busy 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
A certainty to carry a race-high weight of 59 kilograms in the Stradbroke Handicap if to accept, Heathcote told AAP he is not confident the Mossman gelding could compete.
“The bottom line is the Stradbroke is a handicap and he will get 59 kilograms. He can’t win it with that weight” Heathcote said.
“Buffering has been beaten at set weight twice by Spirit Of Boom but I will have to give him 1.5 kilos.
“And if Srikandi runs in the Stradbroke he would be giving her anything up to eight kilos.”
Now a six-year-old, Buffering has claimed an impressive 15 wins and 17 places from a total of 42 competitive starts to date, but has been unable to break through for a race win in four starts this time in.
Following what is likely to be a busy spring preparation, Heathcote revealed he is eying a trip to Sha Tin for Buffering, for his first major test against the world’s best.
“He is getting to an age where we have to manage his career and what is the point of sending him around in a race he can’t win” Heathcote added.
“After that we hope to take on the world’s best in Hong Kong late in the year.”
The standout performer of the 2013 spring, Buffering was unlucky to finish second in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) first-up before completing an impressive run on three victories back-to-back at the highest level of Australian racing; claiming the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) and Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
With Buffering’s exit from early betting fields for the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap, in-from sprinter Srikandi has taken up favouritism to claim Queensland’s premier race at current $4.60 odds, ahead of Rebel Dane ($6), Spirit Of Boom ($6.50) and Catkins ($10).
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