After a three and a half month break Rob Heathcote’s stable ace Buffering is ready to return for his fourth consecutive Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival this time racing first-up in Friday night’s 2013 Moir Stakes.
Kicking off a bumper three days of racing in Sydney and Melbourne over the weekend, the Moonee Valley meeting on Friday evening will see six-year-old Mossman gelding Buffering run for the first time since their second to Linton in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) back in June.
The Stradbroke was the great Brisbane galloper’s 16th Group 1 race and their ninth minor placing at elite level.
Ever determined for the ultra-consistent champ to finally break through and take out a Group 1 win of their own, Heathcote will kick off their latest campaign in the $450,000 Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m).
Buffering will be defending his title in the sprint classic too having beaten home Ready To Rip first-up in the Moir last September when it still only held Group 2 status.
Sure to attract a better class of horse this year thanks to its status and prize money elevation, the Moir previously only worth a total of $302,500 in prize money, Buffering could find it a tougher task to win again in 2013 especially with the presence of the Gerald Ryan-trained Snitzerland.
A winner of over $2.5 million in stakes over their 34 start career to date, Buffering showed they were ready to get back to racing with a nice trial win at Doomben over 320m back on September 3 when ridden by regular jockey Damien Brown.
It, and the horse’s subsequent run between races last Wednesday at Doomben, has Heathcote confident they are in the right condition for a first-up win this year.
“I love to see him dancing around the enclosure like he did before his exhibition gallop at Doomben,” Heathcote said according to AAP.
“He’s ready. Everything has gone exactly to my plan.
“It (Wednesday’s hitout) wasn’t so much for a course proper gallop, I wanted him in the race day stalls, to hear the loud speakers, with lots of people and lots of activity … a simulated race day because horses can get themselves a little bit worked up.
“I wanted to knock any anxiety on the head before the Valley.”
Browne is also looking forward to Buffering’s return, thrilled with his work alongside stablemate San Jose over the 1000m last week.
“It was nice enough work and he only does what he has to without the blinkers on,” Browne said.
“He didn’t have blinkers on in his trial but he had them on in the jump-out and I thought he went terrific.
“He feels like the Buffering of old and if he takes the natural progression through to his first-up run then he’s going to take some beating in the Moir.
“He was loafing a little the last bit of the work but it’s probably what you’d expect at this stage of his preparation.”
For the past two spring carnivals in Melbourne Buffering has ended his run with a shot at the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
The November 9 feature is again the likely grand final goal as he looks to go one better than his second to the mighty Black Caviar back in 2011.
Last year Buffering could only manage to finish eighth to Mental in the Patinack pulling up lame in his off hind leg.
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