Rob Heathcote’s always honest sprinter Buffering is gearing up for his fourth consecutive Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival raid where there Queensland speedster will again look to finally score an elusive Group 1 win.
A rising six-year-old son of Mossman, Buffering has contested an incredible 16 Group 1 races over his 34 start career to date.
While they’ve enjoyed much success amassing over $2.5 million in prize money, the bargain $22,000 yearling is yet to be crowned a Group 1 winner.
Of their 16 starts at elite level they’ve recorded nine top three finishes, most recently finishing second to surprise winner Linton in the Stradbroke Handicap at home on June 8 during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
As for the Melbourne spring features, Buffering is also no stranger to these.
Over the past three seasons he’s run in a whole host of Victorian classics and has been a part of all the spring carnivals from 2010 to this year.
Their first Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival appearance was their fourth to Star Witness in the Coolmore Stud Stakes as a three-year-old back in 2010.
Some of their more notable achievements at Australia’s premier racing festival include their Group 3 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes win two years ago, their second to superstar Black Caviar in the 2011 Patianck Farm Classic and back-to-back Group 2 victories last year taking out the AJ Moir Stakes and Schillaci Stakes double last year.
This season the 2013 Moir Stakes has been upgraded to Group 1 status, the 1200m Moonee Valley sprint the likely first-up option for Buffering on September 27.
From there Heathcote will either take them on the same path as 12 months ago and race in the $220,000 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 12, or keep them exclusively in Group 1 company going into the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on October 25.
“In recent years we’ve gone down and he’s won first-up at the Valley, the McEwen two years ago and then the Moir Stakes last year, and then we’ve gone onto Caulfield for the Schillaci,” Heathcote said.
“I’m not so sure that the Schillaci will be on his agenda this year.
“We’ll see how he does after the Moir, but he’s proved that he races really well fresh, so we may just target the Group 1s this year.”
Their grand final goal during the Melbourne Cup Carnival is then the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, Saturday November 9.
It will be Buffering’s third attempt at the Patinack, last year a disastrous eighth place effort behind Mental after they failed to overcome the far outside barrier 15 of 15 following from their second the previous year behind the ‘Black Flash’.
Along with Buffering Heathcote also welcomed back into work this week his fellow spring carnival bound star Solzhenitsyn.
“They had their first morning back and they look in sensational order,” Heathcote said on Tuesday of Buffering and Solzhenitsyn.
“I could not be any happier.”
Rising St Petersburg seven-year-old Solzhenitsyn also had their latest run in the Stradbroke finishing under two lengths off the winner in fifth.
While they’ve earned less than half the prize money of stablemate Buffering with $741,700 over their 12 career wins, Solzhenitsyn is a Group 1 winner.
Heathcote’s maiden Group 1 trophy came with Woorim in the 2012 Oakleigh Plate.
Solzhenitsyn then provided the dedicated horseman with another when taking out last year’s $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) on Caulfield Guineas Day.
They are set to come back in the $200,000 Group 2 Theo Marks Quality (1300m) in Sydney on September 14 before final Group 1 targets are confirmed.
“He didn’t have an overly hard campaign through the winter, which culminated with an excellent run in the Stradbroke and I’m confident that, once again, we’ll see Solzhenitsyn at his best in the Spring,” Heathcote said.
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