The 2016 Magic Millions QTIS Plate Field has been released and six-time Group 1 winner Buffering is set to carry the top weight of 61 kilograms in the $1 million event at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Buffering’s racing career was at a crossroads when he missed the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, but he returned to his front-running best with a string of impressive performances during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
The son of Mossman returned to the races for the first time in ten months in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 and he proved too strong for his rivals before he was far from disgraced in both the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 23 and the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 7.
Buffering was sent to Perth for a second tilt at the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) after winning the race in 2013 and he proved far too good for his rivals to record a sixth victory at the highest level of racing.
Trainer Robert Heathcote elected to run Buffering in the Magic Millions QTIS Plate rather than the Magic Millions Sprint due to the set weights plus penalties conditions of the race and the veteran gelding is set to head to Dubai for the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) in March before he contests the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) in Hong Kong on May 1.
Buffering has 15 ratings points on his closest rival in the Magic Millions QTIS Plate and fellow veteran Steel Zip is set to carry the second top-weight of 59 kilograms.
Steel Zip has been a consistent performer in Queensland since he made his racing debut back in 2010 and he strung together back-to-back wins in September before he scored a narrow victory in the Listed Keith Noud Handicap (1200m) at Doomben on November 14.
The Canadian Silver gelding failed to beat home a horse in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on December 12, but he was found with a laceration to the near foreleg after the race, which may explain his flat performance.
The only other horse that is set to take winning form into the Magic Millions QTIS Plate is John Dann-trained Anymore, who took out a class six event at Ipswich on December 30.
Gundy Spirit, Abu Ben Adam, Siegfried, Choose A Saga, Mister Booze, Rising Luck, Mr Jetset, Spur Le Jouer, Dousaichi, Duchess Molly and Saga Of The Storm.