Top Queensland jockey Damian Browne has been given the all clear to be reunited with four times Group 1 winner Buffering in the Group 1 $450,000 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on October 2.
Browne has been out of action because of knee surgery since the end of the Queensland Winter Carnival but will be back in the saddle at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday with one mount when he rides the Stuart Kendrick trained News Editor in the $16,000 Sunshine Coast Truck Centre Class 3 Handicap (1800m).
Browne and the Robert Heathcote trained eight year old have combined to win four Group 1 races and the experienced rider is confident to be at his peak as he and Buffering try to defend their title in the Moir Stakes after winning the Group 1 weight for age sprint last year.
“That race is what I am hoping for and what I am aiming for and I am sure I will be right,’’ Browne told The Courier-Mail.
“There is also a possibility of me getting some rides for the Snowden stable during the big southern carnivals.
“I have had good success with them before, but I don’t really find out until a week or so before when Pete (Snowden) gives me a ring.’’
Buffering was able to hold on to beat Mick Price’s brilliant sprinter Lankan Rupee by a nose in last year’s Moir Stakes but Heathcote has some minor concerns this year after the distance was reduced from 1200m to 1000m.
“They have put the Moir back to 1000m this year, which probably isn’t ideal for me because there will be a few whippets in there that might make it hard for Buffering to lead,” Heathcote told AAP.
“But he’s over his issue and I still think he’s got a bit to offer.”
Buffering was forced to missed the Queensland Winter Carnival this year because of a minor leg injury but Heathcote said that the eight year old was coming along nicely as he prepares for the Spring.
“He is coming along for another campaign,” Heathcote said.
Buffering had been labelled with the Group 1 bridesmaid tag following a series of placings at Group 1 level but that was remedied during the Spring of 2013 when the tough little sprinter was able to score a hat trick of Group 1 wins with victories in the $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, the $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington and in the $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth.
Buffering then collected his fourth Group 1 trophy with a win in last year’s Moir Stakes.
Even though Buffering has failed to win a Group 1 at Eagle Farm or Doomben, some of his bravest performances have been at his home track including a second with 58kg to Midsummer Music in the $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm during the 2012 Queensland Winter Carnival and followed that up the next year when second to Linton with 58kg again.
From forty-six starts, Buffering has earned over $4.8 million for his connections from sixteen wins, nine seconds and eight thirds.