Hitting back at the usual critics Brisbane’s premier horseman Rob Heathcote is spuriking the class of competitors engaged to face off in the Doomben 10,000 this weekend with a star-studded 15 horse field announced.
A quality field of gallopers is engaged to face off in the lucrative feature with the $650,000 Group 1 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) attracting one of its strongest line ups in years according to Heathcote.
“There are the usual knockers out there who will say that this is a weak race – it’s not,” Heathcote said.
“It looks like being an absolutely stellar Doomben 10,000.”
There are six individual Group 1 winners in the mix including the early favourite BTC Cup champ Your Song who has drawn the ‘visitor’s draw’ out in 15, and the Peter Snowden-trained Golden Rose winning colt Epaulette.
But a number of the top fancies in the early Doomben 10,000 betting markets are yet to break through at elite level including Heathcote’s top local galloper Buffering.
The $2.26 million earning Mossman five-year-old has had 14 Group 1 assignments but seems to always play the bridesmaid posting an incredible seven minor placings but not first prize as yet.
One of those Group 1 minor placings was in last year’s Doomben 10,000 when Buffering crossed only a long neck away second to the John O’Shea-trained mare Sea Siren, also returning for another crack this winter, in the feature.
They also contested the 2011 Doomben 10,000 when a disappointing seventh finishing dead last in the only really disappointing effort of their super consistent career.
Heathcote is now hoping it will be third time lucky for his stable ace who was last seen running fourth to Your Song in the BTC Cup run on an unsuitably Heavy (9) Eagle Farm track.
Going back to Doomben over more distance on a hopefully drier course and Heathcote is confident things will go Buffering’s way on Saturday setting them up for their first Group 1 trophy.
He does however concede there are some smart types to defeat aside from just Your Song including the defending champ and fellow local hope Better Than Ready who was third in the BTC Cup last time out.
“You’ve got Your Song who is already a Group 1 winner, you’ve got Buffering who is knocking on the door, Sea Siren who won the race last year and Better Than Ready who is one of the early market favourites for the Stradbroke,” he said.
“I think it’s going to be a truly great race.”
Buffering boosted Heathcote’s hopes further this week when working on the course-proper at Doomben on Tuesday morning returning with good reports from jockey Damian Browne.
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