Two champion sprinters will face off in Saturday’s BTC Cup 2013 with local hope Buffering to take on Sydney raider Rain Affair in the early Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival clash, Queensland trainer Rob Heathcote confident the former is ready to reign supreme.
Both five-year-olds are looking to break their Group 1 duck after numerous attempts, Heathcote believing that elusive elite level trophy is coming Buffering’s way at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
From 13 attempts against Group 1 company Buffering has enjoyed seven minor placings and is surely deserving of finally snaring the big prize when they run in their second $400,000 BTC Cup (1200m) this weekend.
They were third behind superstar visitors Black Caviar and Hay List in 2011’s race before missing out on a shot when withdrawn as the favourite due to injury last year.
After a smashing first-up Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) win at Doomben by three and a half lengths late last month Buffering is set to open favourite in the BTC Cup again.
It won’t be any walk in the park however with the local to face some tough opposition including Joe Pride’s exciting Commands gelding Rain Affair.
Rain Affair is also no stranger to Group 1 racing having run in six of their own for three minor placings most recently a very nice second to All Too Hard in the All Aged Stakes over 1400m at Randwick on April 27.
Buffering and Rain Affair have faced off once before in last year’s Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1220m) at Flemington with the Brisbanite the best of the duo running a nose away second to Hay List – Rain Affair two and a half lengths further away in sixth dropping off after sitting beside the runner-up until the final 200m.
Heathcote is confident that Buffering will come out on top again in Round 2 and will be the best to handle the pressure.
“Quite a few horses have tried over the years to take on Buffering only to come unstuck,” he said.
“The last time we met Rain Affair in the Newmarket we beat him quite easily and I’m positive Buffering is a better horse now than he was back then.”
Pride won’t be giving up without a fight however and believes the two will be neck and neck in a fast finishing affair.
“Buffering is a pretty sharp sprinter but my horse doesn’t like to surrender the lead so it’s going to be interesting to see how it pans out,” he said.
“Hopefully we won’t be carving each other up.
“He’s (Rain Affair is) one of my favourite horses that I’ve ever trained because he’s a real fighter with a great will to win.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the official 2013 BTC Cup field and barrier draw once it is released shortly.
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