Popular sprinter Buffering upset Lankan Rupee to record his fourth win at Group 1 level in the 2014 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley tonight.
Lankan Rupee flew out of the gates, but he was restrained by jockey Craig Newitt in the early stages of the race and jockey Damian Browne took Buffering to his customary position at the front of the field.
Newitt asked Lankan Rupee for an extra effort come around the bend and the son of Redoute’s Choice took a while to respond, but Buffering still looked like a sitting duck as Rebel Dane, Angelic Light and Unpretentious all loomed in the final stages
However, Buffering was able to show his trademark grit and determination and while Lankan Rupee made up ground late, the champion Queensland sprinter was able to hold on to take out the Moir Stakes for the second time in three years.
Browne has steered Buffering to all four of his Group 1 victories and the veteran hoop gave the Mossman gelding a gem of a ride, but he was quick to pay credit to the courage of his favourite horse.
“He is a wee champion and he tries his heart out,” Browne said.
“I got away with a real cheap furlong and a half and I was able to really put the pressure on at the 600 and 700 and I knew that he would give me plenty.
“This horse everybody has forgotten, he won three Group 1s last year too, but everything seems to forget that.
“Don’t worry about horse of the year, he is our horse of the year anyway.”
Robert Heathcote was forced to go through a number of heartbreaking defeats before Buffering was finally able to record his maiden Group 1 victory in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last year, but the leading Queensland never lost faith in his star sprinter.
Heathcote was adamant that Buffering was not at his best during his autumn campaign and he was clearly delighted to see the seven-year-old return to his best form in the Moir Stakes tonight and confirmed that the four-time Group 1 winner would defend his title in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
“I am lost for words,” Heathcote said.
“I thought he was off his game a little bit during the autumn, but it was a lovely ride from Damian and he rated him a treat.
“He put the pressure on at the 700 and it looked like he was going to go down there, but he is a little bulldog and he just fights.”
Lankan Rupee looked as though he had every chance to return to winning form and both jockey Craig Newitt and trainer Mick Price took nothing away from the tough effort of Buffering, but both believe that Lankan Rupee may have a slight issue with the tight-turning Moonee Valley circuit.
Price confirmed that Lankan Rupee would be given the opportunity to turn-the-tables on Buffering in the Manikato Stakes, but he added that the five-year-old could run in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 11.
“I think that his best races have been at Caulfield and Flemington and Randwick on the bigger tracks,” Price said.
“The Manikato is here in 28 days time and I don’t think I will be wavering from that, but the only thing I would say is that we will put the Schillaci in place.
“Just looking at him and the way he is doing in the stable might be too long between runs, but I can’t avoid the races at Moonee Valley at this point.”