Queensland sprinter Buffering stamped himself as the leading sprinter in Australia with his second straight victory at Group 1 level in the 2013 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m), the race formerly known as the Patinack Farm Classic, at Flemington this afternoon.
Buffering went straight to the lead out of the gates and travelled beautifully during the run; kicking clear from the rest of the field when asked for an extra effort from jockey Damien Browne at the 400 metre mark.
2013 Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress flew home late but was unable to catch the tough gelding who hung on to claim his second Group 1 victory in his past two starts – after taking eighteen attempts to finally record his first win at the highest level of racing.
Browne has formed a formidable partnership with the six-year-old and was clearly thrilled to have won another Group 1 on a horse that he considers one of best, and easily the toughest, that he has ever ridden.
“He is a true Queensland and he just tries his guts out; he is a wee champ,” Browne said after the race.
“He has always been up there with the best and obviously he ran into a couple of champions (Black Caviar and Hay List).
“Now that they are not here, it is his time to shine and he thoroughly deserves it.
“It has been a long ride, it is a great bunch of people, and for Robbie Heathcote and the whole team here it is just terrific.”
Trainer Robert Heathcote has had a very successful 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, winning the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) with Solzhenitsyn and the Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) with Fire Up Fifi, but it is clear that the victories of Buffering in both the Manikato Stakes and VRC Sprint Classic have mean the most to him.
The leading Queensland trainer has always believed that Buffering was good enough to win at Group 1 level and, without Hay List and Black Caviar in the picture, believes that his star galloper is the best sprinter in Australia.
“Little Buffering has done the job,” Heathcote said after the race.
“There is no Black Caviar, there is no Hay List and there is no Sepoy but there is a Buffering now.”
Buffering was able jump straight to the front and dictate the pace of the race, as is his traditional racing pattern, and Heathcote admitted that he didn’t even need to give instructions to Browne before the race.
“He just gives us 100 percent every time and I never even spoke to Damien about instructions; I didn’t have too,” Heathcote said.
“He did what he had to do and put the pressure on coming to the 400m mark and I started to smile then.
“There were probably a few unanswered questions after the Manikato, a few people thought he was a little bit lucky, but there was no luck in that today.
“That was pure guts, determination and ability.”
Buffering became only the fourth horses to complete the Manikato Stakes/VRC Sprint Classic honor roll; joining You Remember (1995), Scamanda (1976) and Vain (1969) as the only horses that have taken out the prestigious sprint double.
Two-time Group 1 winner Epaulette was one of the first horses beaten and finished at the tail of the field, with connections announcing after the race that he would be retired, while champion Hong Kong sprinter Lucky Nine was unable to accelerate when asked for an effort by jockey Brett Prebble.
The 2013 Spring Racing Carnival may almost be over for another year but there is still plenty of great racing taking place right around Australia and you can find the best odds at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the famous $500 bonus bet!
2013 VRC Sprint Classic Finishing Order
|1||2||BUFFERING||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||–||1||58.5kg||$11|
|2||7||SHAMEXPRESS (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||0.75L||7||58.5kg||$18|
|3||6||MOMENT OF CHANGE||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||2.5L||4||58.5kg||$9|
|4||8||FONTELINA||Anthony Cummings||Nash Rawiller||3.25L||6||58.5kg||$14|
|5||4||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||James McDonald||4.25L||11||58.5kg||$41|
|6||1||LUCKY NINE (IRE)||Caspar Fownes||Brett Prebble||4.45L||8||58.5kg||$3.40F|
|7||9||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||Glen Boss||4.75L||5||58.5kg||$9|
|8||5||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||Michael Rodd||5.25L||9||58.5kg||$19|
|9||11||UNPRETENTIOUS||Nikki Burke||Craig Williams||6.25L||12||58.5kg||$15|
|10||13||SIDESTEP||Peter Snowden||Tommy Berry||7.75L||13||53.5kg||$21|
|11||14||VILLA VERDE||Shaun Dwyer||Chad Schofield (a)||7.95L||10||51.5kg||$21|
|12||10||SESSIONS||Peter Snowden||Hugh Bowman||8.15L||3||58.5kg||$17|
|13||3||EPAULETTE||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||17.15L||2||58.5kg||$12|