Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote is willing to forgive Buffering for his first up failure and expects a fitter racehorse to compete in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Heathcote partly blames himself for Buffering’s first up seventh to Villa Verde in the Group 2 $400,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 15.
“Buffering was slightly disappointing in the Challenge, but I’m willing to forgive him, and he will be better over 1200m,’’ Heathcote told The Daily Telegraph.
“I think I might have been a bit soft on him, and being a bit older, and after having a good break after a brilliant spring, I probably backed off him a bit.”
Heathcote said the inside section of the track that day wasn’t the best place to be as well and he has stepped up the six year olds work ready to tackle the best line up of sprinters in the country.
“He’s had plenty of work since, and he won his jump-out easily last week.’’ Heathcote said.
“It was just to give him a hit out and he went straight to the front and whilst he wasn’t tested by another horse he let down and won in comfortably by ten.
“He had a nice hit out and when he pulled up Damien (Browne) said he was very happy with him.
“This is his grand final. This is the big one.”
Buffering was the star of the Spring with a hat trick of Group 1 wins which started with his win in the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
The Mossman gelding then went on to win the Group 1 $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival before heading to Perth to score a narrow win in the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 23.
Buffering has drawn barrier two in the capacity eighteen horse field of the T J Smith Stakes and is rated a $6 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Mick Price’s new sprinting sensation Lankan Rupee heads the market order at $4 with last start winner Irish galloper Gordon Lord Byron the next in the betting at $9.
The Gary Portelli trained Rebel Dane and Chris Waller’s three year old Zoustar share the next line of betting at $11.