The bad luck of the Aussie contingent in Hong Kong this month continued today with the Robert Heathcote-trained Buffering missing a scheduled gallop with a foot abscess.
The four-time Group 1 winning son of Mossman is one of two Australian-trained stars over in Hong Kong for a shot at glory during Sunday’s 2014 Hong Kong International Race Day.
Criterion, a recent acquisition for co-trainers David Hayes & Tom Dabernig, is the other green-and-gold representative.
He is set to run in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) while Buffering is eyeing his fifth elite level in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 14.
It has been a bumpy road for last autumn’s Rosehill Guineas – ATC Derby double winner Criterion who suffered a bout of colic just days before his first international trip and then had an allergic reaction to a shampoo once he was in the country.
Buffering meanwhile looked to be travelling ideally up until he developed the abscess overnight.
He stretched his legs on Monday and by all reports was in top condition ready to add to his already very impressive $4.8 million in career prize money.
His Brisbane-based trainer Heathcote gave a glowing report to the Hong Kong Jockey Club yesterday and said he had a “serious gallop” on the turf at Sha Tin Racecourse scheduled for this morning as reported by the South China Morning Post.
Buffering, last seen running fourth behind Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) in another gutsy run at Flemington on November 8, however missed that run because of “a dirty nail hole”.
“It’s called a dirty nail hole,” Heathcote explained.
“The place where the nail goes into the hoof gets a bit of dirt in it and gets infected.”
Despite the setback Heathcote is keeping positive and believes there is time before the weekend for Buffering to recover and run well even though he’s missed some important work.
“Before the vets and the farrier got to him, he couldn’t put weight on his off fore foot,” he said.
“Now that it has been drained, he’s already able to put weight on the foot and I think he’ll be okay.”
Heathcote is now looking at when he can rescheduled the Sha Tin gallop for Buffering who pays $8.50 in the latest Hong Kong Sprint betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au led by Aerovelocity ($5.50).
“If there’s anything good about it, it’s that it has come up so quickly and it can resolve itself quickly,” he said.
“If it’s resolved by Thursday or Friday, he can have a breeze but he is a fit horse – the main thing is to get him to the race and it is only a mild concern.”
Back Buffering to bounce back and become the first Australian-trained Hong Kong Sprint winner since Danny Boughoure prepared Falvelon for back-to-back wins in 2000 and 2001 online now at Ladbrokes.com.au!