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Previously at a loss to explain their BTC Cup failure last weekend, Brisbane’s top trainer Rob Heathcote is hoping a trip to the chiropractor to correct a head injury can see a return to form for his star Buffering in the 2014 Doomben 10,000 Saturday week.
The Mossman six-year-old was shooting for his fourth Group 1 career win last Saturday when going out as the firming odds-on favourite in the $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
After hitting the front briefly over the closing stages Buffering was quickly run down and could only manage to hang on and finish one and a quarter lengths away third behind upset winner Famous Seamus and the Tony Gollan-trained runner-up Spirit Of Boom.
It was a disappointing result as the galloper failed to salute at elite level in front of a home crowd for the first time and break their 2014 losing streak after being beaten in their opening two starts in Sydney this year as well.
“We all felt the horse was ready to explode and win the BTC Cup,” Heathcote told The Courier-Mail.
“There is no doubt he raced below his best but the fact he was still able to place in a Group 1 race is testament to his fight and courage.”
Heathcote reported on Sunday Buffering had been bouncing around only 10 minutes post-race and showed no signs of any injury or illness to explain their off performance.
After further investigation by a veterinary surgeon on Monday however the 41-start veteran was found to have a sore and sensitive area around the poll at the back of his skull.
The prescribed treatment was a visit to a chiropractor who, through massage and manipulation, attempted to ease some of the horse’s pain and irritation to hopefully get them back racing their best.
“When he was checked over he was sore and extremely irritated in that region and it required manipulation,” Heathcote explained.
“The chiropractor was of the opinion that it may have caused the horse to race flat [on Saturday].”
Whether or not that works will be evident on May 24 when Buffering backs up in the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) featuring many other BTC Cup graduates plus Gary Portelli’s Stradbroke Handicap-bound Sydney galloper Rebel Dane.
“I have to find a way to put the spring back in his step,” Heathcote added.
“There is no reason why he won’t go to the Doomben 10,000.”
The 2014 Doomben 10,000 first acceptances are taken tomorrow morning where the 46 nominations will be narrowed down.
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