Securing an impressive fourth victory at the highest level over the 2014 Spring Carnival, trainer Robert Heathcote has revealed veteran sprinter Buffering will not contest events over autumn in Sydney this year, but will instead remain in his native Queensland to target the featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.
Undoubtedly finding career-best form over the 2013 edition of the Spring Racing Carnival, Buffering was unable to break through for an elusive Group 1 victory in his home state over the 2014 winter; returning to the paddock following a close third in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
A 1400m event when contested at Eagle Farm, renovations have led to the race being moved to Doomben for its 2015 edition; something which should play directly into Buffering’s strengths according to Heathcote.
“It’s certainly more favourable for Buffering,” Heathcote told Racenet.
“Whilst he has never won a Group 1 in his home state, he’s performed admirably.
“The 1350 metres of the Stradbroke certainly makes it a more viable proposition.
“Quite possibly he’s going to be one of the highest rated horses in the race and it is still a handicap.
“But the 1400 at Eagle Farm has always been considered to be a pretty tough 1400.”
Charging home to win the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at the beginning of his spring campaign, Buffering performed to a particularly brave and high standard over two proceeding starts; highlighted by a close run for fourth in the talent-filled Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8th.
Having travelled abroad for a credible sixth in the major Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) on December 14th, Heathcote has been thrilled with the condition of the Mossman gelding since his return and is relishing the thought of Group 1 success in his home state.
“He’s done quite well through the quarantine period, he was about 508kg when he raced and he’s up to 525kg now,” he added.
“We’ve pretty much made our mind up now; I’ll give him a bit of time to get over the journey.”
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