Recently inducted Hall Of Fame trainer Chris...
All early signs are positive for Robert Heathcote’s veteran Brisbane sprint star Buffering to return for a fifth Moir Stakes run at Moonee Valley this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
A rising nine-year-old son of Mossman, Buffering has proved over his illustrious 53-start career to date to be one of the country’s most consistent Group 1 performers.
Amassing over $7.2 million in prize money, the warhorse has contested an incredible 33 Group 1 races over the last six years.
He would place in 10 Group 1s before breaking through for his first elite level title in the 2013 Manikato Stakes and has subsequently enjoyed another six Group 1 victories.
The latest was on March 26 when travelling to Dubai and taking out the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m).
His latest run was a failed 14th when injured at Sha Tin on May 1 behind fellow Aussie Chautauqua in the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) in Hong Kong.
But ‘The Buff’ is back down under and back in work impressing Heathcote with how he came through the tough international campaign.
After a full month off resting, Buffering returned to light work at a spelling property in Queensland this week and looks to have made a good recovery.
“He made a public appearance at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke day and was bucking his brand off like a two-year-old,” Heathcote told AAP.
“Since then he has had a month spelling with the sun on his back and eating too much but he has done well.
“Buffering’s health and wellbeing always will come first. But if he continues to show us he wants to race and he is well, we would push on.
“A happy horse is a good horse and that has always been the case with Buffering.”
Buffering has contested the past four editions of the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) and is again on track for the $500,000 feature at Moonee Valley Racecourse on September 30 under the lights.
He took out the 2012 Moir Stakes when it only held Group 2 status before finishing second to Samaready in 2013 – the first year it ran as a Group 1 – and won again in 2014 defeating Lankan Rupee.
Champ returned last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and became the first triple Moir Stakes winner in history, an outstanding record he could get a shot at adding to this season.
“He has won three and been second once so it is the obvious race even with Chautauqua and Extreme Choice to contest it,” Heathcote said of the weight-for-age Moir Stakes.
It really is hard for Queensland trainers to get Group 1 horses. There are many reasons but at some stage we are all going to have to address them,” the Eagle Farm-based trainer added.
All going well Heathcote could be tempted to also target the Manikato Stakes and Darley Classic for a sixth time this spring with Buffering.
The $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) runs back at Moonee Valley on October 21 and Buffering has contested the past five editions runner fourth in 2011, sixth in 2012, first in 2013, seventh in 2014 and fifth last spring.
The $1 million Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) is a Flemington feature held on the first Saturday of November during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Buffering won the Manikato Stakes – Darley Classic double in 2013 and his other runs in the latter produced a second in 2011 behind Black Caviar, eighth in 2012, fourth in 2014 and fourth last year behind Delectation.
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