Brisbane horseman Robert Heathcote has confirmed plans to take Buffering back to Perth in a fortnight to attempt his second success in the 2015 Winterbottom Stakes following his Darley Classic fourth over the weekend.
Five-time winning Mossman eight-year-old, Buffering took on a gun field in Saturday’s Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight on Emirates Stakes Day.
As always the veteran sprint star put in a very brave run and was far from disgraced crossing just over half a length away fourth to the upset Chris Waller-trained winner Delectation in a blanket finish.
“It was a super effort – I thought Damian (Browne) rode a tactically brilliant race. Inside the 100m we were still in front and he just wilted that last 70m,” Heathcote told Racing Ahead speaking of Buffering’s Darley Classic performance.
“But to go down a short-head, a short-head and a long-neck to certainly the best two sprinters in the world and now Delectation puts his hand up.
“It was a master training performance from Chris (Waller) to bring arguably a 1400m, a miler to win up the straight.”
In the spring – summer season of 2013 Buffering won the Darley Classic and then headed to Perth where he scored a devastatingly close win in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) over Peter Moody’s champion sprinter Moment Of Change.
Last year on the back of a Darley Classic fourth Buffering headed overseas for his international debut running sixth to Aerovelocity as a $42 outsider in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m).
This season connections will keep the ageing $5.22 million earner in Oz, but Buffering still travels with a second Winterbottom win – the race now worth $1 million in prize money – on the agenda.
“It always has been on the agenda,” Heathcote confirmed.
“After that race on Saturday you could argue that ‘Buff’s’ probably is in as good a form as he’s been in the past couple of years.
“I believe the flight is leaving next Sunday. He’ll do a little bit of faster work on the Saturday and a little bit of lighter work on Tuesday when he gets to Ascot.
“I’ve got a fit, healthy and happy race horse and we’ll keep him that way until the race.”
An 11-time winner over the 1200m, Buffering is out to become the first dual Winterbottom Stakes winner on non-successive years since Ortensia (2009 and 2011).
Futures Winterbottom Stakes odds are led at bookmakers around the country by the local Trevor Andrews-trained Oratorio colt Lucky Street at a quote of around $4, who has won five of his seven starts at Ascot and is two-from-two over the distance.
The other best-fancied in the markets are the Vaughn Sigley-trained defending champion Magnifisio who was impressive running second to stablemate Black Heart Bart in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) over the weekend, Ciaron Maher’s dual Group 1 winning Melbourne-based mare Srikandi who ran fifth in the Darley Classic and then Buffering.
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