Brisbane-based horseman Robert Heathcote couldn’t be happier with the gun barrier three draw for his stable ace Buffering who lines-up against a crack field of international sprint stars in Sunday’s 2016 Chairman’s Sprint Prize in Hong Kong.
Fellow Australian raider Chautauqua leads the current odds at Ladbrokes.com.au for this year’s $2.4 million Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) paying $2.15 to win his first overseas run.
Sydney-based hoop Tommy Berry travels over to ride the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained favourite, the gallant grey galloper last seen winning his second TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney in early April.
Chautauqua jumps from barrier six of 14 in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, but plans are to go back before charging home late over the final 600m.
Buffering meanwhile is more likely to be right up on the pace if not leading with his regular rider Damian Browne continuing his gun association with the rising nine-year-old son of Mossman.
A winner of over $7.2 million in prize money, Buffering was last seen taking out Dubai’s Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) and is out to continue his successful international campaign as a $6 shot in Chairman’s Sprint Prize betting.
Things couldn’t have worked out better for Buffering whose connections were the last to draw a gate, Heathcote thrilled with the barrier and the position it will put his champion in on Sunday.
“It was hoping for barrier four, but got three,” Heathcote joked to the media post-draw.
“It’s a perfect draw and I wanted three, four or five. He can be momentarily slow away, even though has jumped well in his past four or five runs.
“Those outside us should not be able to cross us with his speed, so we’ll find the rail and go to the front.”
Not quite as lucky as the Aussies in this year’s Chairman’s Sprint field was the John O’Shea-trained Bow Creek who has gate 11 to overcome in his Hong Kong assignment on the weekend – the Group 1 Champion’s Mile (1600m).
Due to run as Sha Tin Race 8 one event after the Chairman’s Sprint, this season’s Champion’s Mile features a dozen runners with Bow Creek paying $11 for the win with Zac Purton aboard.
Betting is led firmly by the flying Japanese-trained Maurice ($2.05) to be ridden by Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira, who is supremely confident aboard the favourite after a strong gallop on the grass at Sha Tin late this week.
“He is a lovely horse; he has the body, he has the attitude and he is the type of horse everyone dreams to have – he has got me very excited about Sunday,” Moreira told the South China Morning Post.
Maurice hasn’t raced since last December but is a gallant first-up performer known as “the beast” who will take some beating from gate six on Sunday.
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