Premier Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote has confirmed 2012 Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival plans for his stable stars Woorim and Buffering, with the latter a chance of facing off against the world’s best mare Black Caviar for the third time.
Mossman four-year-old Buffering, a $1.1 million earner, came head-to-head with Peter Moody’s sprint sensation Black Caviar for the first time in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben last May during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Fresh off a Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) win at Eagle Farm, Buffering ran his heart out in the supercharged sprint showdown but could only manage to finish seven lengths away third to Black Caviar, Hay List filling the second spot.
Buffering was reunited with the brilliant mare again last-start on Emirates Stakes Day at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
After a blinding run down the famous straight, Buffering finished three lengths away second to Black Caviar as she raced away to her 16th consecutive turf triumph.
There is now a chance Buffering will again be tested against the Black Flash in the $750,000 Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18.
Black Caviar, who was also this week nominated for two Group 1 features on Dubai World Cup Night in March, is set to resume racing $200,000 Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) next Friday night at Moonee Valley.
Her other autumn targets include the $400,000 Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 11 as well as possibly the 2012 Lightning Stakes.
Heathcote has also named the Lightning as Buffering’s likely first-up run.
Stablemate Woorim, last seen finishing four and a half lengths away seventh to Albert The Fat in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), is also Melbourne-bound this season.
“I still think his best is ahead of him,” Heathcote said of Woorim.
“He suffers from what we call long-toe, low-heel syndrome so we can’t get too many runs out of his feet because he doesn’t have a lot of heel to begin with.”
The Show A Heart six-year-old is set to race first-up in the $350,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 25.
His possible Oakleigh Plate 2012 rivals could include Magic Millions Sprint winner Schiffer, David Balfour’s in-form mare Obsidian Dragon who races in the Listed Kensington Stakes at Flemington this Saturday and of course Darley star Sepoy.
Buffering and Woorim will then come up against each other in the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10, the winner of which is exempt from ballot for the 2012 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 9 as part of a new Brisbane Racing Club initiative announced this week.
“It’s going to make it tough for us locals but you want to win a Group 1, you don’t want it handed to you on a plate,” Heathcote said of the new concept.
After the Newmarket the duo will then go their separate ways again.
All going well Woorim will head up to Sydney for the $400,000 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day, April 7, and then the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 21, nominations for which were taken this week.
Buffering on the other hand is expected to stay on in Melbourne targeting the $500,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 23, a race won last year by Black Caviar.
With Black Caviar heading overseas in early March, and other Aussie sprinter star Sepoy also set to make a permanent move to the northern hemisphere after the autumn, Heathcote hopes it will give other horses a chance to dominate the major sprints.
“What a time to come around into an era of sprinters with Black Caviar, Hay List and Sepoy where we’ve run second and third to both Black Caviar, Hay List and Sepoy,” he said.
“We were only having a chuckle in the office the other day.
“If they hadn’t been around my two horses would’ve won three Group Ones.”
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