Robert Heathcote is ready to make his mark on the spring racing carnival with his duo of top liners set to have their first runs of the campaign.
Heathcote has had a solid plan along for both Buffering and Woorim and that will be put in action this Saturday at Moonee Valley.
Buffering will have his first hit out in the Mitty’s McEwen Stakes over 1000m against a top field of quality sprinters.
He’ll need to be right on his game to be a threat in this one but Heathcote is confident on the back of a fantastic first up record.
“I think he’s very forward, he’s got great first up record in fact he’s unbeaten,” Heathcote said.
“I’ve put blinkers on him first up over 1000m.”
He says the blinkers are only a temporary measure to sharpen him up first time out and they won’t be needed later in the carnival as the horse has plenty of natural speed.
Buffering last ran in the Stradbroke Handicap where he finished fourth to end a solid winter campaign.
“He had four weeks off, I would have liked to give him a little bit longer but obviously that’s the price you pay to run an extended Brisbane winter carnival,” he said.
“Hopefully he races well because from there three weeks later it’s on to the Manikato.”
The Manikato is shaping as one of the best fields in recent history and to be any chance in that event Buffering really needs to start off strongly.
“I think Buffering being a dual Group 2 winner he’s earned his start in these sort of races,” Heathcote said.
His second runner on Saturday is Woorim, another well performed horse and one with genuine claims throughout the spring.
He was due to have one run in Brisbane before making the journey south but Heathcote isn’t concerned that he missed out due to poor weather.
“It’s a very similar path to what I saw last year…he raced at this meeting and then went on where he was an unlucky third in the Rupert Clark Stakes,” he said.
Woorim also only had a short spell but that shouldn’t be an issue due to a light three race campaign.
“He had a short winter carnival, unlucky in the Stradbroke where he didn’t get a run, won the Glass House and won the Darley Sprint,” he said.
There’s no doubting Woorim’s natural advantage is his lightning finish but whether or not he’ll be able to show it across 1200m at Moonee Valley is the question.
“He’s certainly got the best finish of any horse that I’ve put a saddle on…he raced well at the valley at his only start before
“The 60.5kg is a slight issue but he’s a big strong horse.”
Both horses will be ridden by top Brisbane jockey Damian Browne who boasts one of the best strike rates in the country.
“He is a super rider and it’s safe to say he’s in the best two or three we have up in Queensland and importantly he knows Woorim better than anybody,” Heathcote said.