Browne clear to ride Buffering in Challenge Stakes

By: Mark Mazzaglia
March 7th, 2014

Suspended jockey Damian Browne is clear to ride Buffering in his Autumn Carnival pipe opener in the Group 2 $400,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 15 after being granted a stay of proceedings pending his appeal.

Damian Browne and Buffering, above,  are set to reunite in the Challenge Stakes.

Damian Browne and Buffering, above, are set to reunite in the Challenge Stakes. Photo by Race Horse Photos Australia.

Stewards suspended Browne for six weeks after finding him guilty of not taking a run at the 400m on the Robert Heathcote trained Kingtantes in the three year old Maiden at Eagle Farm on February 26.

Kingtantes, a $9 chance, eventually finished third to Primal Flight with stewards claiming Browne’s failure to secure that run and lack of vigour between the 300m and the 200m cost the Easy Rocking three year old second position.

Heathcote, who also trains Buffering, was furious at the stewards’ decision saying the the six week penalty was way over the top for such a minor miss judgement.

Browne was relived that he can ride up until his appeal on March 18 therefore freeing him up to continue his association with Buffering in the Challenge Stakes after the pair collected three Group 1 victories over the Spring and Summer Carnivals.

“Very happy about that and looking forward to being able to stick with him,” Browne told Racing HQ.

“I think it is the eighteenth of March, Tuesday, so that’s obviously after Buffering’s first up run so I’ll be able to stay with him.”

“Not something that I wanted to have to go through, I’ve a couple weeks stay which enables me to keep riding.”

If Browne fails in his appeal against the charge, he will miss the remainder of Buffering’s Autumn Carnival rides which includes the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12.

Buffering broke a frustrating run of minor Group 1 placings with a win in the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and backed that up with a win in the Group 1 $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Heathcote then took Buffering to Perth where the six year old scored a nose win over Moment Of Change in the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on November 23 during the Perth Summer Carnival.

Browne has kept a close watch on the top class sprinter as Heathcote prepares him for the Autumn and reported that he is shaping up very nicely.

“He has been trialling well, looks great so we are looking forward to see how he comes up in a week and a half’s time,” Browne said.

“He normally takes one or two jump outs just to find himself and his jump out on Tuesday was very good.”

“He generally does run well first up. There are a couple of 1000m specialist in the race and I’m sure whatever he does he will improve on but he will certainly be very competitive.”

If Browne fails to get his suspension turned over at appeal, top Sydney rider Nash Rawiller will be in line for the plumb ride on Buffering in the T J Smith Stakes.

Rawiller is no stranger to the top line sprinter and from two rides was able to win the 2010 Group 2 $175,000 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick and ran second to Black Caviar in the 2011 Group 1 $1m Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington.

Buffering is currently on the third line of betting in the T J Smith Stakes with at $6.50 behind multi-million dollar colt Zoustar at $3.70 and Team Hawkes trained Not Listenin’tome at $5.

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