Buffering recorded a win in a jump out at Flemington this morning in his final serious hit out before making the trip to Hong Kong for the 2014 Hong Kong International Sprint, but trainer Robert Heathcote revealed that jockey Craig Williams was forced to work harder than he expected on the talented sprinter.
Buffering jumped from the gates quickly and took up the running in the early stages of the jump out, but the four-time Group 1 winner was challenged by his rivals and he finished the jump out under heavy riding.
Heathcote told Racing Victoria that Buffering had produced a lazy effort without blinkers on, but the leading Queensland trainer said that he was happy with the son of Mossman heading towards the 2014 Hong Kong International Sprint.
“He was a little bit lazy in his jump out,” Heathcote said.
“He still won it, but Craig had to do a little bit of work on him.
“It is mildly surprising, but I left the blinkers off because I didn’t want him to do it terribly hard.
“We still have a couple of weeks and he has arduous trip ahead of him.
“The most encouraging thing I took out of it was that he absolutely flew out of the barriers, pinged out because he can be a little bit short.
“Craig Williams said that he has done plenty of form on this horse and seen plenty of his bum over the past few years and expected him to be slow out, but was pleasantly surprised.”
Along with Hong Kong Cup hopeful Criterion, Buffering will make the trip to Hong Kong on December 1 and he will be joined by Heathcote two days later.
The flight to Hong Kong will me the longest that Buffering has encountered during his racing career to date, but Heathcote is confident that the veteran sprinters vast experience flying to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth will help him handle the long flight without any issues.
“It is something that he has done since he was a two-year-old,” Heathcote said.
“For the last five years he has been up and down the eastern seaboard and he has had more flights than I have recently.
“Flying to Perth last year was five hours and he was brilliant on that, so the nine hours to Hong Kong he should cope with that.
“It is exciting and it is just a matter of getting him there in one piece and fit, sound and healthy.”
Buffering has the chance to join Falvelon (2000 and 2001) as the only Queensland-trained horses to have taken out the Hong Kong Sprint.