The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Brisbane horseman Robert Heathcote may have been gutted by the shock loss of his stable ace Buffering in last Friday night’s Manikato Stakes but he has now confirmed the horse will be given another chance of breaking his Group 1 maiden status in the 2012 Patinack Farm Classic next month.
Mossman five-year-old Buffering jumped the short-priced favourite in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley after having won his first two starts for the season in fine style.
Something went amiss on the notoriously tight turns of the Valley however and the champion sprinter failed to finish better than sixth when beaten three and a half lengths by the winner Sea Siren who also beat him home when the duo ran one-two in the Doomben 10,000 during the winter.
“Maybe Hugh (Bowman) made an error in trying to restrain him in the lead, he’s better being let run, but he (Buffering) has just had an off night,” Heathcote said trying to explain their below par performance.
Heathcote was understandably upset after the defeat originally thinking there may medically be something wrong with Buffering but has since re-gathered and refocused and has decided to press onto the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day which brings the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival to a close on Saturday November 10.
While Buffering failed to eat up directly after his Manikato loss, the horse showed Heathcote they’d taken no ill effect from the run presenting a much chipper version of themselves on Sunday to their trainer.
“At this stage we’re definitely pressing on to the Patinack. He ate up well this morning and he’s nice and bright,” Heathcote said on Sunday.
“We did a blood test and the veterinary report came back perfect. He doesn’t have any clinical signs of something wrong.
“Without a doubt it’s a relief, just to see him so much brighter this morning.
“We know he’s better than what he showed the other night so we’ll get back to straight racing during the day and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”
The multiple Group 1 performing Buffering finished second to super mare Black Caviar in last year’s Patinack Farm Classic and, while they were tipped to score their elusive first elite level title in the Manikato in the absence of the ‘Black Flash’, will be out to do one better this year.
Heathcote will also be represented in the marquee race on Emirates Stakes Day with his talented six-year-old Solzhenitsyn, third in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) on Cox Plate Day, to run in the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) which will be the former New Zealander’s first look at the Flemington track.
The 2012 Patinack Farm Classic final field is due for release on Wednesday November 11, one day after the famed Melbourne Cup 2012 takes place.
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