International Group 1 winner Buffering is ready to fire in Sunday’s Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong but trainer Robert Heathcote admits that Australian rival Chautauqua will be hard to beat.
Buffering completed his final gallop for Saturday’s contest with a solid hit out over 1200m in 1.25.6 seconds with 400m splits of 33.0, 29.1 and 23.5 and Heathcote was very happy with that in humid conditions.
“Very happy with his work. Nice blow out and Melanie (Sharpe) gave him the thumbs up,” Heathcote said.
“It was a bit warm out there and we galloped quite late in the morning, after waiting for the trials to finish, but it didn’t bother him. Coming from Queensland, he’s used to the humidity.”
Heathcote knows that backmarker Chautauqua will be giving every runner a start but said if he can repeat his customary electrifying finishing burst he displayed in his T J Smith Stakes win at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’, he is the one to beat.
“On his day he (Chautauqua) has our measure but come Sunday it will be all about how much start he’s giving us and the likes of Peniaphobia and Aerovelocity if they go forward on him. Our boy is so tough, that’s his asset. It’s one thing to get to Buffering, then you’ve got to get past him,” Heathcote said.
While Heathcote isn’t ready to concede to the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua who was recently rated the world’s best sprinter, the Brisbane premiership winning trainer can see some strong form coming out of Buffering’s last start win in the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan in Dubai on March 26.
Honk Kong sprinter Peniaphobia finished one length behind Buffering in Dubai and is one of the main local hopes along with Aerovelocity.
“It looks a great race on Sunday but there are a few things which give us some heart. The form line through Peniaphobia in the Al Quoz Sprint is one,” said Heathcote.
“And we’re also really happy with how everything’s gone leading into this race. He’s 100 per cent. No niggles. When we came here in 2014, he wasn’t 100 per cent and still managed to run sixth behind Aerovelocity. I think if he’d been spot on, he might have won that race.”
The prospect off a rain affected track on Sunday for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize doesn’t faze Heathcote but he knows that Chautauqua is just as good on any type of surface.
“He (Buffering) copes well with soft ground. We wouldn’t want a heavy track but a track with a little give would be ideal, but scarily that also suits Chautauqua,” Heathcote said.
Buffering shares the second line of betting at $6 with Aerovelocity for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua at the top of the market order at $2.30.
Chairman’s Sprint Prize market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.30 Chautauqua, $6 Buffering, Aerovelocity, $8 Thewizardofoz, Gold Fun, $10 Lucky Bubbles, $13 Peniaphobia, $31 Not Listenin’tome, Amazing Kids, $67 Divine Boy, $101 Strathmore, Dundonnell, Charles The Great, Super Jockey, I’m In Charge, $151 Key Witness.