Heathcote Happy with Barrier Draw for Challenge Stakes

Leading Queensland-based trainer Robert Heathcote believes stable star Buffering is in prime position to claim the 2014 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick this weekend, having drawn the ideal barrier 3 for the Group 2 event.

Buffering will contest the 2014 Group 2 Challenge Stakes first-up this weekend

Buffering will contest the 2014 Group 2 Challenge Stakes first-up this weekend. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia

Arguably the Sunshine State’s leading professional racehorse alongside fellow Challenge Stakes nominee Temple Of Boom, Buffering will be partnered by in-form jockey Damian Brown this weekend, who has partnered the talented Mossman gelding four wins from eight starts they have contested together.

“It probably allows Damian the opportunity to sit up outside Satin Shoes (barrier 2)” Heathcote told TVN following the barrier draw this morning.

“I’ve always believed the horse that controls the tempo is the horse sitting up outside the leader.

“It is just about a perfect alley for us. I’m happy with that. We all know what Buffering does; he gets out fast and runs and he keeps running.”

Having not contested a race in 2014 so far, Buffering completed a strong piece of work at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm racecourse on Tuesday and is reportedly in prime condition ahead of the Challenge Stakes.

Completing the final 400 metres of the 1000m hit-out in only 23 seconds, Heathcote was pleased with the way Buffering took to the track and believes he is ready for his 2014 debut on Saturday.

“Most importantly it was not so much the time, but the way he did it” Heathcote added.

“Damian Browne got off and had a nice big juicy smile on his face.”

Buffering undoubtedly produced one of the best 2013 spring preparations of any Australian runner, following up a competitive second to Samaready in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) first-up with three back-to-back Group 1 wins in the Manikato Stakes (1200m), VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) and Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).

While yet to confirm a path for the talented six-year-old this season, an attempt on the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 12th appears likely before returning to Brisbane to contest the major winter carnival sprint events.

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