Buffering to Win Stradbroke Says McNair

Glyn Schofield and John McNair

Hay List Trainer John McNair thinks Buffering is the horse to beat in the Stradbroke Handicap

Trainer of courageous galloper Hay List, John McNair is backing a Queensland local for the richest Brisbane Winter Carnival showdown saying Buffering is the horse to beat in next month’s Stradbroke Handicap.

With Hay List set to be let lose in Saturday week’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) in the hopes of finally being able to get the better of the seemingly undefeatable mare Black Caviar, McNair this morning said he was unlikely to back the five-year-old up in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.

Hay List was allocated a handy 57.5kg in the Stradbroke Handicap weights yesterday afternoon, but this hasn’t been enough for McNair to seriously consider a start in the sprint feature.

“He’s still going to be meeting horses like Buffering, I think, more than five kilos worse (in the weights),” McNair said.

Instead, McNair will likely spell Hay List after the Doomben 10,000 and look towards the spring.

While gun three-year-old Sincero leads the Stradbroke odds at $4.20, it is the Robert Heathcote-trained runner of the same age McNair said he would have his money on if he were having a punt.

“(Buffing is) nearly a good think in the Stradbroke I think,” McNair said.

“I could be wrong.”

Buffering is currently rated a $17 chance in the Stradbroke Handicap markets, the punters perhaps a little shy as the Mossman gelding yet to race over a distance greater than 1200m.

This hasn’t deterred McNair from tipping Buffering as the best chance in the Stradbroke.

“We finished nearly five (lengths) in front of Buffering (in the BTC Cup),” he said.

“But over 1400m with the lighter weight, that’s (Buffering is) what I would be backing.”

First-up for the season Buffering became a dual Group winner with a strong victory over The Galaxy champion Atomic Force in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm in April.

Last Saturday Heathcote gave Buffering his biggest test to date, starting the emerging sprinter against the best in the country in the Group 1 BTC Cup at Doomben.

Buffering ran a mighty race and finished a brave third behind champion Black Caviar and Hay List, beaten seven lengths.

In the BTC Cup Buffering carried 57kg on his back, but the exciting gelding comes right into Stradbroke contention having been allotted 51kg for the Stradbroke, which is an advantageous 6.5kg under weight-for-age.

Along with non-starter Black Caviar, Buffering is the only other horse currently exempt from ballot in the Stradbroke and guaranteed a spot in the final field thanks to his Victory Stakes success.

This is unlike early favourite Sincero, who with just 49.5kg and sitting 41st on the Stradbroke order of entry, remains in doubt of gaining a start.

The other local Queenslanders in contention for the Stradbroke include Group 1 Epsom Handicap winner Captain Sonador (53.5kg) and Doncaster Handicap placegetter Bold Glance (52kg) who sit 14th and 22nd on the ballot respectively.