On Tuesday it was revealed that Australia’s chance at winning the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) on December 14 was in doubt when Buffering missed a scheduled gallop due to a foot abscess.
However just 24 hours later and the seven-year-old gelding is improving well. He was fitted with a shoe this morning and while he missed another round of track work, trainer Robert Heathcote is happy with the speed of his recovery and believes Buffering will be fighting fit for Sunday’s sprint race at Sha Tin Racecourse.
“On Tuesday morning he was five out of five lame, I thought we were going to be in trouble,” Heathcote told TVN.
“David (Hayes) was with me and the horse could barely put his foot on the ground.
“It is quite amazing how much he has improved in the past 24 hours and a lot of the thanks must go to the Hong Kong Jockey Club farrier.
“He pin pointed the issue, drained it and already has the shoe back on.
“This morning (Wednesday) he would be half to maybe one out of five lame.
“I spoke with the vet and asked her thoughts about running Sunday, she said she can’t be 100 per cent about anything but 99 per cent sure he will be fine to run.
“That is good enough for me.”
Buffering won the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) first up in the spring before just missing out on placings in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m).
He is a $9 shot in the Hong Kong Sprint betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, one of five single figure hopefuls alongside Sole Power ($8.50), Lucky Nine and Peniaphobia ($7), and favourite Aerovelocity ($5.50).
Heathcote admitted that missing two straight days of track work is not ideal less than one week out from the International Race Day but he doesn’t believe it will overly effect Buffering’s chances either.
“I’ve just given him an extended time on the walker today (Wednesday),” he said.
“He came here as a fit horse and will have an easy gallop on Thursday morning and I’ll ask the Jockey Club if we can arrange a turf gallop on Friday.”
There are four Group One races running in Hong Kong this Sunday afternoon (Australian time) with Australia represented in both the sprint and Hong Kong Cup (2000m), for which Criterion is an $11 hopeful.