Buffering Battling for Fitness in Group 1 Darley Classic

Buffering is now in a battle to be match fit for the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) Saturday week following a brutal 2014 Manikato Stakes run.

Buffering (centre) is struggling to regain match fitness following a brutal run in the Manikato Stakes.

Buffering (centre) is struggling to regain match fitness following a brutal run in the Manikato Stakes. Photo by Sarah Ebbett.

Trainer Rob Heathcote indicated his 16-time winning sprinter is feeling the effects of the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on Friday night, in which he copped severe interference.

“I’d love to say that he has come through the run in good order but he hasn’t,” Heathcote told TVN.

“He is a bit sore and stiff from all the interference and we are just hoping he recovers quickly enough for the Darley Classic.

“I’ve got the chiropractor looking after him and doing all we can.”

The Manikato Stakes was packed full of drama, with many of the horses all receiving their fair share of interference in the early stages, which many jockeys attributed to winner Lankan Rupee.

However following two lengthy protest deliberations for the race to be overturned, Racing Victoria stewards dismissed the claims against the winner.

There was less than half a length between the first eight horses home and just over 1½ lengths between the entire field. Buffering finished seventh, but was just half a length behind Lankan Rupee.

Jockey Damian Browne was quick to claim the run as the best performance of the gelding’s career, according to Heathcote.

“Damian was just so pleased with the run, to get checked like he did, he got screwed sideways and then had to pick himself up and still was showing fight on the line.”

Buffering will now need to focus on getting fit enough to run against the likes of Chautauqua, Slade Power, and nearly all of his Manikato Stakes rivals including Lankan Rupee, in the $1 million Darley Classic, for which he is a $13 bet with Ladbrokes.com.au.

However, Heathcote has a trip to Hong Kong in mind as back-up should Buffering not be 100 per cent fit for Flemington next week.

“If he isn’t 100 per cent I wouldn’t run at Flemington because I don’t want to jeopardise him not being right if we elect to go to Hong Kong,” he said.

Chautauqua leads the Darley Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au following his incredible four length victory in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) on October 4. The gelding is odds-on favourite to win at $2.80 followed by Lankan Rupee ($5) and Slade Power ($5.50).

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