Six times Group 1 winner Buffering in is super form as he prepares to run in the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) down the turf straight at Meydan in Dubai on Saturday night.
Buffering has drawn barrier nine in the thirteen horse field the boasts some of the best sprinters in the world and trainer Robert Heathcote describes the eight year old as feeling super following his final gallop on Tuesday.
“It was super,” Heathcote told Racing HQ.
“He galloped up the incredible Meydan straight and rather unusual here. I have been through Dubai a few times in my travelling career and I have never seen it rain and it is actually raining this morning (Tuesday). Raining in the dessert.”
“He had a decent hit out. We worked him up the course proper straight on Saturday and held him together but this morning was his final really good hit out. He ran three quarter speed from the 800m mark and the last 400m he really zipped along.”
“He looked good and Melanie (work rider) gave him the thumbs up. It was his attitude to do his work and how well, how quickly he recovered with his wind after the work out.”
“That will be his final bit of work and we will tick him over now and have him nice and bright and fresh for Saturday evening.”
Buffering will be taking on the top local sprinter Ertijaal as well as Hong Kong’s Peniaphobia and Not Listenin’tome, Japanese speedster Bel Canto and Jungle Cat, Sole Power and Goldstream from the England and Ireland, but Heathcote is very confident that his stable star will there amongst them at the finish.
“If Buffering presents with his A game on Saturday evening they will know he is here,” Heathcote said.
“The favourite runner here is a local horse called Ertijaal, it is the $3, $3.50 favourite, a young Dubai racehorse that has never really raced at Group 1 level.”
“So whilst it has been impressive and run time against weaker opposition, he steps into the ring against the Group 1 contenders this Saturday so I guess there is going to be a query with that.”
“The two Hong Kong horses are clearly the ones to beat. Not Listenin’tome is well known to Australian racing public and he looks as he may have even improved a bit. He was very impressive winning in Hong Kong with a big weight last start and Peniaphobia, he is a very good horse. I think he ran third in this race last year and they tell me the Japanese horse (Bel Canto) is a flying machine as well.”
Buffering had a trouble free trip to Dubai and Heathcote said that was huge plus in preparation to taking on the best sprinters from all parts of the world.
“No issues at all. That is really the key to any success we hope to have on Saturday, how well he has recovered from the journey,” Heathcote said.”
“It is one of Buffering’s fortes that he is such a good traveller. He is so well experienced at it as we know and he really never turned a hair.”
Heathcote was full of admiration for the condition of the Meydan turf track and said with that little bit of rain on top of the constant watering, the racing surface will be in pristine condition.
“They water constantly here which is good news to us because I don’t want a firm track but having walked on the surface, an incredible coverage of grass,” Heathcote said.
Buffering has had plenty of experience racing over a straight course with four placings at Group 2 and Group 1 level as well as a win down the Flemington straight in the 2013 Group 1 $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) and he won’t be telling Damian Browne to change his normal racing pattern.
“He jumps, he runs hard and goes for as long and as fast as he can. That is what he does best. They will know that he is in the race,” Heathcote said.
Buffering is the winner of his last two starts and collected his sixth Group 1 trophy in winning his second Group 1 $1m Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth in November before returning to Queensland to win the $1m Magic Millions QTIS Plate (1300m) at the Gold Coast on January 9.
Al Quoz Sprint field: (barrier same as saddlecloth number) 1 Naadirr (IRE), 2 Jungle Cat (IRE), 3 Bel Canto (JPN), 4 Not Listenin’tome (AUS), 5 Peniaphobia (IRE), 6 Ertijaal (IRE), 7 Sole Power (GB), 8 Goldstream (GB), 9 Buffering (AUS), 10 Muthmir (IRE), 11 Fityaan (GB), 12 Sir Maximilian (IRE), 13 Lady Shipman (USA).