Rob Heathcote’s star Group 1 winning Queenslander Buffering is nominated for their opening autumn run this weekend in the Challenge Stakes 2014 at Randwick.
The Mossman six-year-old is one of 11 sprinters nominated for this year’s $400,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m), the short distance feature running as part of Sydney’s Randwick Guineas Day on Saturday.
Buffering has spent the better half of his career in Group 1 company racking up countless placings before finally scoring one of his own during the spring when taking out the Manikato Stakes.
There was no stopping him from there with the horse continuing on to take out the VRC Sprint Classic 15 days later and then travelling to WA to make it three Group 1s on the trot in the Winterbottom Stakes on November 23.
They’ve been spelling since, the $4 million earner set to return with a Challenge Stakes run.
It’s a top class field they are likely to face too, one of the obvious dangers being Snitzel mare Snitzerland.
Gerald Ryan’s four-year-old is fresh off an autumn opener winning the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington a month ago, her Challenge Stakes run the next step towards the $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 12.
Snitzerland pays $16 in the latest 2014 TJ Smith Stakes betting markets that are firmly led by Zoustar $3.60.
The Chris Waller-trained favourite is also set for a run this weekend leading the nominations for the $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m).
Also coming off a first-up win in the Challenge Stakes is the Joe Pride-trained Tiger Tees who is joined in the entries by stable mate Rain Affair.
Dubawi six-year-old Tiger Tees resumed on February 22 in Brisbane winning the Listed Falvelon Stakes (1200m) in their first run for four and a half months.
Former boom sprinter Rain Affair meanwhile was dead last after leading early and fading to finish 11th behind Appearance in a poor Group 2 Expressway Stakes performance on February 8.
They showed huge improvement in a Warwick Farm trial on February 28 however winning over 804m by 11 lengths giving Pride confidence they can get back to form on the weekend.
Along with Buffering a host of other short distance specialists are kicking off in the Challenge Stakes including the Peter Snowden-trained Manikato Stakes third placed Sessions, Tony Gollan’s 2012 The Galaxy winner Temple Of Boom and Magic Millions Sprint champion Whittington for the flying Gai Waterhouse stables.
The full Challenge Stakes 2014 nominations are detailed below with final acceptances revealing the field due out tomorrow.
In the meantime take a few minutes to get in on the autumn action by opening an online betting account with Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the famous bonus sign-up offer for Aussie punters.
2014 Challenge Stakes Nominations
Royal Randwick – 15/03/2014
|1||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||3||58.5kg||110|
|3||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||Noel Mayfield-Smith||5||58.5kg||107|
|4||RAIN AFFAIR||Joseph Pride||4||58.5kg||108|
|6||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||7||58.5kg||105|
|7||TIGER TEES (NZ)||Joseph Pride||8=||58.5kg||104|
|8||SATIN SHOES||Clarry Conners||8=||56.5kg||104|
|11||VILLA VERDE||Anthony Cummings||11||54kg||84|