Five times Group 1 winner Buffering continues to hold the top spot in the betting for the Group 1 $1m Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on Super Saturday.
Buffering is quoted at $4 with Ladbrokes.com.au, just ahead of the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained Fast ‘N’ Rocking at $5.50, local sprinter Watermans Bay at $7.50 and last year’s Winterbottom Stakes winner Magnifisio at $8.
Premiership winning Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote agrees with the bookies and thinks Buffering’s Melbourne Spring Carnival form is good enough for him to win his second Winterbottom Stakes after claiming Perth’s glamour weight for age sprint in 2013.
“Being on the heels of Chautauqua and Terravista is a pretty good guide to this and I think he can win,” Heathcote told The Courier-Mail.
“I know you have to respect the local horses, because they invariably measure up, but two years ago he was taking on Barakey and he got the better of him.”
Buffering raced on the pace when he resumed for a win in the Group 1 $450,000 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 and then showed a clean set of heels in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 23 before finishing fifth to Chautauqua.
Then at his latest outing the eight year old showed his customary speed before getting run over by Delectation, Chautauqua and Terravista when fourth in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival on November 7.
Buffering’s regular rider Damian Browne has been aboard the veteran sprinter for his last nineteen starts, including his win in the 2013 Winterbottom Stakes, and agrees with Heathcote that he will be hard to beat if he can maintain his Melbourne form in the West.
“His win in the Darley two years ago was probably a career best, but I felt he was a bit jaded when we got to Perth for his next start,” Browne said.
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“So I’m just hoping the recent runs haven’t taken too much out of him.
“He feels as good as he ever has and he’s enjoying his racing at the moment. It’s really noticeable before the race and the way he’s beginning. He’s beating them out at the moment rather than being a touch slow.”
Winterbottom Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Buffering, $5.50 Fast ‘N’ Rocking, $7.50 Watermans Bay, $8 Magnifisio, Lucky Street, $11 Shining Knight, Silverstream, $13 Rock Magic, $26 Liberty’s Gem, $34 Rommel, $41 Checkpoint, Sujet, $51 Dawn Approach, Madassa, $61 Cool Trade, $101 Akhedasset.