Veteran jockey Damian Browne is excited to take on the world’s best hoops when he partners Buffering in the 2014 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Browne has achieved plenty during his racing career to date, including 8 wins at Group 1 level, but he will be making his debut in Hong Kong and he told Sky Racing HQ this morning that he is thrilled to have the opportunity to compete on one of the biggest race days in the world and ride along the likes of Richard Hughes, Joao Moreira, Zac Purton and Ryan Moore in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m).
“I rode in Singapore earlier this year at the Singapore Derby meeting and a fair bit in New Zealand, but this is my first time in Hong Kong,” Browne said.
“I do watch a lot of Hong Kong Racing, it is great to watch and a great spectacle.
“The horses and the caliber of jockeys that are there are just phenomenal.
“I do enjoy watching it and it is going to be even better to be a part of it.”
Browne’s trip to Hong Kong for the International Raceday was thrown into jeopardy when Buffering was found to be suffering from a foot abscess, but trainer Robert Heathcote revealed this morning that he is very confident the son of Mossman will be passed fit to contest the Hong Kong Sprint.
Brown said that it was obviously not ideal for Buffering to have suffered a minor setback in the week leading into such a big event, but he is happy with the fitness levels of the seven-year-old and feels that the barrier draw may be a bigger concern to his chances of steering his favourite horse to victory in the Group 1 event.
“He is pretty fit as it is anyway, so the gallop is probably not going to be the main concern, but it will be whether there is any heat or anything left in the hoof,” Browne said.
“Leading into a race like this any hiccup is not a good one, so we are hoping for some good news.
“The barrier is going to be crucial, but there doesn’t look like there is going to be as much speed in it as we originally though there would be.
“Hopefully he can get to the front and get his own way a little bit.
“We are under no illusions, he is going to have to run right up to his best to win the race, but if he does I am sure that he will know he is there.
“We just have to hope that everything goes right for us on the day.”
Browne has partnered Buffering in all four of his previous wins at Group 1 level and has ridden the popular sprinter in each of his race starts since he took out the 2013 edition of the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m).