No Royal Ascot for Dubai-Bound Buffering

Brisbane’s Robert Heathcote has confirmed his star performer Buffering will head to Dubai next March but that the horseman’s dreams of a Royal Ascot bid have been scrapped due to timeframe restrictions.


Six-time Group 1 winner Buffering heads to the Gold Coast in January on Magic Millions Day before overseas runs in Dubai and Hong Kong. Photo: Daniel Costello.

Eight-year-old Mossman gelding Buffering has been the stalwart in Heathcote’s stable amassing over $5.8 million in prize money over his 50 start career that has netted 18 wins and an additional 17 other minor placings after being picked up for a steal at the 2009 Magic Millions Sales for just $22,000.

After finally breaking his Group 1 maiden status in the 2013 Manikato Stakes, the evergreen veteran has won a subsequent five more elite level races including going back-to-back in Perth’s Winterbottom Stakes last time out.

The world is now seemingly the sprinter’s oyster and Heathcote is in talks with connections this week to confirm the upcoming overseas campaign of the champion.

While Royal Ascot might be out, Buffering is still set to head to Meydan Racecourse on Dubai World Cup Night, March 26, for a shot at the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) won by an eight-year-old this year in Sole Power (2015).

From there Heathcote plans to take the sprinter to Hong Kong for the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin Racecourse on May 1.

That time frame rules him out of an English bid at Royal Ascot.

The Chairman’s Sprint Prize will be Buffering’s second run at Sha Tin after he made his overseas debut in last December’s Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) when beaten 3.75 lengths crossing sixth to Aerovelocity in the International Race Day feature.

“I have always wanted to win a race in Hong Kong,” Heathcote told AAP over the weekend.

Buffering went from his one length win over Watermans Bay in the Winterbottom Stakes on November 21 to Melbourne’s Living Legends before returning home to Brisbane this week.

Before he heads off overseas for the first time he is likely to have one run down under at the Gold Coast Racecourse on January 9 in the $1 million Group 1 Magic Millions Sprint (1200m).

Surprisingly he has never had a run at the Gold Coast but his class alone will see him start short priced favourite in next month’s feature if he accepts.

A possible 2016 Magic Millions Sprint rival for Buffering this summer is Gerald Ryan-trained King’s Troop.

The Redoute’s Choice colt is on the mend after injury cut his spring campaign short after a second to subsequent Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Japonisme in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill in mid-August.

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