Unlucky sprinter Buffering has finally broken through for a win at Group 1 level with a strong front-running effort in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley tonight.
Buffering has been a perennial bridesmaid at the highest level of racing and in the final stages of the race it looked as though there would be more heartache for connections of the the six-year-old but he dug deep to hold-off a fast finishing Lucky Nine and Sessions.
Trainer Robert Heathcote has always been confident that Buffering would record a Group 1 win but admitted that, in recent times, he had started to worry if the breakthrough moment would ever come for the Mossman gelding.
The leading Queensland trainer has already recorded a Group 1 victory during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, with Solzhenitsyn winning the Toorak Handicap (1600m), but it was quiet clear that Buffering’s win was incredibly special for an emotional Heathcote.
“Gee what do you say,” Heathcote said after the race.
“Eighteen goes at a Group 1 and he gets the job done tonight in a $1 million race; that is something special.
“He puts in every time and the couple of runs out of his thirty starts that he hasn’t there has been something wrong.
“They say that this is the place where legends are made and he is a legend to me.”
Jockey Damien Browne was celebrating just his fourth win at Group 1 level and like Heathcote it was quiet clear that this victory meant a great deal to the underrated jockey.
He rode Buffering in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) when he was beaten by Samaready by three and a half lengths but said he felt with a bit of luck that Buffering could turn-the-tables in the Manikato Stakes.
“He has accomplished pretty much everything that he can and he just needed to win that Group 1 and to do it tonight is just terrific,” Browne said.
“We were always confident in the horse.
“Everybody was talking Samaready up and we knew that it was a terrific win last time by her but we thought that if we could get a bit of luck mid-race he was going to take a lot of catching as he always proves.”
Browne was unable to send Buffering straight to the lead, with Samaready’s stablemate Le Bonsir going out hard, but the Queenslander said it actually helped the speedy sprinter settle into the race.
“I took my time getting across and when Le Bonsir wanted to take us on I was keen enough to go,” Browne said.
“I dictated for a furlong and a half and we went really slow and I was quiet surprised that they let me get away with it for as long as I did.
“At the furlong he really dug in and gave me a length and you know that he is always going to fight but in the last couple of bounds when Lucky Nine was coming I thought come on post.”
Champion Hong Kong sprinter Lucky Nine was far from disgraced and will head to the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) during the 2013 Melbourne Cup Carnival as the clear favourite while Samaready was unable to replicate her scintillating Moir Stakes and finished in the second half of the field.