Trainer Robert Heathcote was ecstatic that Buffering was able to come up with barrier three and expects the speedster to set the pace in the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Buffering was one of the last horses to draw a number at the barrier draw on Thursday and Heathcote knew that he would either get three or eight and would have accepted either, knowing that the eight year old would have no trouble taking up his usual position in front from either gate.
“I am absolutely ecstatic,” Heathcote said.
“It is the way Buffering races, the way we have raced him pretty much through his career. We get out and we roll along. It’s going to be a good tempo. Buffering very rarely slows them down because it is not his racing pattern. So it will be a genuine run race.”
“The irony is that I didn’t have to do a thing. I just had to sit there and everybody else drew theirs and I got left with number three. I wanted four, three will do.”
“I was already doing the calculations, what’s left in there. There is eight, there is three, there is thirteen. Then the third last draw was thirteen, I thought three or eight I would settle with that.”
Heathcote expects Buffering to find the lead easily from barrier three for jockey Damian Browne and can see other on pace runners, local hopes Aerovelocity and Peniaphobia, having to do a bit of work if they are going to try to match it with the Aussie speedster.
“You look at gate three, yes I am happy, with that, but I am just as happy that the speed runners are all drawn outside of us,” Heathcote said.
“They are going to have to really work if they are going to cross us which I can’t see happening.”
As well as being happy with a good barrier, Heathcote can’t fault Buffering’s preparation heading towards the Chairman’s Sprint Prize since arriving from Dubai where he won the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan on March 26.
“I am happy. He has come here with a good level of fitness. And you look at his form and you see what we have done going back through the Spring Carnival. He has had some lengthy breaks between runs, but we have just ticked him over,” Heathcote said.
“He is not a horse that requires a lot of work these days. He had a nice solid gallop on Tuesday, pretty much pacework through to Sunday now.”
While Heathcote said that Buffering is in tip top order, he still thinks that his Australian rival Chautauqua is the one to beat.
“If Chautauqua turns up with his A game, if circumstances are run to suit, I think he will be winning,” Heathcote said.
“He is the highest rated sprinter in the world for a clear reason. He has been scintillating his last three runs.”
“Buffering we know that he is tough and Aerovelocity, Peniaphobia, Gold-Fun and you throw in Thewizardofoz, it’s a cracking race and I think this gives Chautauqua the opportunity of proving to the world that his the number one sprinter.”
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua drew barrier six in the final fourteen horse field for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize and remains the clear cut favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.15.
Buffering is on the second line of betting at $6 just ahead of Aerovelocity at $7.50 and Gold-Fun and Thewizardofoz both at $8.
Chairman’s Sprint Prize market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.15 Chautauqua, $6 Buffering, $7.50 Aerovelocity , $8 Thewizardofoz, Gold-Fun, $9 Lucky Bubbles, $13 Peniaphobia, $31 Not Listenin’tome, Amazing Kids, $41 Mongolian Saturday, $101 Charles The Great, $126 Strathmore, Divine Boy, $151 Super Jockey.