Brisbane’s Robert Heathcote has confirmed the Magic Millions QTIS Open Plate 2016 as the Gold Coast target for his six-time Group 1 champion Buffering over the Magic Millions Sprint this Saturday in Queensland.
A winner of over $5.8 million in prize money, this weekend Mossman eight-year-old Buffering will make his Gold Coast debut at his 51st career start.
He was last seen racking up another elite level success with a second win in WA’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in late November, and is a dual Gold Coast Magic Millions Race Day nominee for his return to the Sunshine State.
Buffering is in the mix for both the $1 million Magic Millions Sprint (1100m) as well as the slightly less coveted $1 million Magic Millions QTIS Open Plate (1300m).
Despite the appeal of the MM Sprint, the handicap conditions of the short distance clash will see Buffering heavily penalised.
Instead Heathcote will accept for the MM QTIS Open Plate where his veteran sprint star will be better weighted under the set weights plus penalties conditions.
“The race has been on the radar since the new $10 million race day was formulated,” Heathcote told Racing Victoria.
“I suppose there’s an element of doubt I guess in terms of having to travel back from Perth and I haven’t given him a trial, I’ve just given him a couple of exhibition gallops at Doomben but I couldn’t be any happier with him.
“He’ll have one more bit of work on Tuesday at Doomben but we head into the race where the reality is he’s well in under the conditions of the race.
“He’ll carry 61kg against horses that he’s so far ahead of in terms of class and quality that it’s not funny.”
The race will be Buffering’s fifth look at the distance and his attempt at a first 1300m win after a previous second and two thirds.
A total of 26 nominations were taken for the restricted feature, Buffering one of five last start winners in the mix.
The other most notable galloper shooting for a second win on the trot if accepted is the Matthew Dunn-trained Falvelon filly Madotti who took out the Group 3 Vo Rogue Plate (1300m) at the track and distance on Boxing Day.
Three-year-old Madotti however is far more likely to take on a field of her own kind chasing more prize money in the $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) this Saturday.
Heathcote nominated Tony Gollan’s fellow Group 1 winning evergreen Brisbane galloper Temple Of Boom as Buffering’s biggest danger in the QTIS Open Plate.
“I guess his main rival in terms of quality is Temple Of Boom,” he said.
“Temple Of Boom has beaten him in the past but I’m not sure Temple Of Boom has been racing in his best form this campaign while Buffering is coming off Group 1 form.”
Piccolo nine-year-old Temple Of Boom hasn’t finished top three since his third in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) in Sydney last August and comes off back-to-back sevenths in Brisbane black-types including a disappointing effort behind Fontelina in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) from December 13.
Buffering could be overseas-bound after his Magic Millions run with the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) in Dubai this March on the radar.
Success for him on Saturday meanwhile will see him join Black Caviar and Hay List as the only Australian-trained sprinters to secure over $6 million in career earnings.
Final acceptances for the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas and Magic Millions 2YO Classic close at 12pm (AEST) today, January 4, with the rest of the Magic Millions race fields released on Wednesday morning.
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2016 Magic Millions QTIS Open Plate Nominations
Gold Coast Racecourse – 09/01/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer|
|1||4x1x09x089||ABU BEN ADAM||G||5||Pat Duff|
|4||44x55x1x80||CHOOSE A SAGA||G||5||Steele Ryan|
|6||1x15x410||DRAM OF RED||G||3||Matthew Dunn|
|7||195×213105||DUCHESS MOLLY||M||4||Matthew Dunn|
|8||431x1199x3||FILLE ARDENTE||M||4||Matt Kropp|
|10||1340×74240||GUNDY SPIRIT||G||5||Tony Gollan|
|11||6x373167x6||KNIGHTWICK MANOR||M||4||Bryan Dais|
|13||1525×33954||MISS COVER GIRL||M||4||Kelly Schweida|
|14||370101859x||MISS HUSSON||M||5||Bruce W Hill|
|15||x21214x716||MISTER BOOZE||G||4||David Murphy|
|16||2×34581630||MR JETSET||G||5||Tony Gollan|
|17||x507010661||REAL FAVULOUS||G||5||Donald Baker|
|19||00×2641241||RISING LUCK||G||4||Trevor Thomas|
|20||310x29x9||SAGA OF THE STORM||F||3||Liam Birchley|
|22||6804847×43||SINO EAGLE||M||6||Peter G Moody|
|23||1021615×23||SPUR LE JOUER||H||4||Stuart Kendrick|
|24||2235121110||STEEL ZIP||G||8||Pat Duff|
|25||6704x30x77||TEMPLE OF BOOM||G||9||Tony Gollan|
|26||188512113x||VO HEART||G||5||Mark Dale|