Last Saturday’s scratched BTC Cup favourite Buffering is in danger of missing the remainder of the 2012 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with a minor leg injury threatening their appearance in both the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap.
Rob Heathcote’s Mossman four-year-old pulled up sore after a track work out late last week and then failed to pass a veterinary inspection on Saturday morning forcing their scratching from the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
Last seen beating subsequent BTC Cup runner-up Scenic Blast by a commanding seven lengths in the wet at Eagle Farm on May 2, Buffering remains the clear favourite to win the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 26.
They top the Doomben 10,000 odds at bookmaker.com.au paying $3.70 ahead of BTC Cup winning filly Sea Siren ($9).
But whether Buffering will make a return before the season is out is under a cloud of doubt.
While their injury is only minor, Buffering suffering from a stone bruise on his near-fore heel, it is taking its toll on the talented galloper with further treatment required.
Heathcote however remains confident that they can rectify the problem and have the $1.45 million earner back to his best in time for Saturday week’s Doomben 10,000 clash.
“I’m hoping that in the next 24, 48 hours the problem comes to the surface and we can get rid of it and get stuck into him for the Doomben 10,000,” Heathcote said.
“We’re still not out of the woods.
“There’s a little bit of colouration in the bulb of his heel which is significant because it means that the internal bruise is moving, it’s coming out.
“I’ll be taking him to the beach again today for a long session in the salt water.
“I’ve really got to get him galloping on Thursday, a light bit of work, and then give him a good gallop on Saturday.”
If Buffering doesn’t recover in time to take their place in the Doomben 10,000 then it will be the John O’Shea-trained Sea Siren who starts favourite.
Sea Siren is at this stage heading towards the famous $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.
Allocated 52.5kg after her BTC Cup win Sea Siren will be further penalised if she takes the Doomben 10,000 title which would likely see her skip the Stradbroke.
The 2012 Stradbroke Handicap is also penciled in for Buffering, Heathcote expecting him to be back to peak fitness in time for the feature should he miss the Doomben 10,000.
There is a chance that he too will give the Stradbroke a miss however with Heathcote unhappy with their hefty 57kg weight allocation considering they are yet to break their Group 1 duck.
“I was a little disappointed with the weight they gave him, 57 kilos for a horse that’s never won a Group 1,” Heathcote said.
“Okay he’s placed at Group 1 level but I don’t think he should pay a penalty on what he hasn’t done.
“He’s a little bit of a spruik horse and he’s raced well against Black Caviar and Hay List .
“Black Piranha ‘s won two Stradbrokes and I get half a kilo from him.”
If Buffering doesn’t return before the end of the winter he will spend a little extra time spelling ahead of a spring return.
“If I didn’t run in the Stradbroke that just means it’s a couple of extra weeks he can have in the paddock,” Heathcote said.
“He’s in for a good spring without Black Caviar and Hay List there.
“He has the potential of being the premier weight-for-age sprinter in the country if I look after him.”
Buffering, who is yet to race over a distance further than 1200m, pays $12 in the latest Stradbroke Handicap betting markets at bookmaker.com.au which are led by the Peter Snowden-trained Mental ($8) and Sea Siren ($9).
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