Trainer Robert Heathcote said that stable star Buffering is “back as good as ever” as he chases his fourth win in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Buffering won his first Moir Stakes in 2012 when it was classified as a Group 2 event but the now nine year old claimed the winning trophy in 2014 and 2015 when it was ran under Group 1 status.
The seven time Group 1 winner will again clash with the world’s highest rated sprinter Chautauqua after a disastrous trip to Hong Kong in May for the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.
While Chautauqua rewrote the record books with a last to first win, Buffering limped home to be beaten twelve and a half lengths, finishing last in the fourteen horse field.
Heathcote said that Buffering has completely recovered from his Hong Kong battle scares and is confident of a better result against the Team Hawkes’ grey flash.
“It is just an amazing return and he has come back seemingly as good as ever,” Heathcote told the Herald Sun.
“It’s incredible. The reality was that, yes, it could have been his last race in Hong Kong and he ran a bad race, but there were reasons behind it and he was lame and they did an endoscopy on him and found he’d had bled down in his engine room.
“And you think, well, that might be it.”
Buffering looked very sharp in winning a special 1050m barrier trial on the course proper at Doomben on September 7 when he went close to breaking the course record, running 59.58 secs, 0.39 secs outside of the record.
Regular rider Damian Browne was happy with the hit out but told Heathcote that Buffering still had some improvement left in him.
“He’s still a bit thick in the wind and he pulled up bigger than I thought he would,” Browne said after the trial.
“He still has some fitness to work on before he goes to the races.”
Heathcote is giving Buffering a great chance to turn the tables on Chautauqua and win his fourth Moir Stakes and rack up Group 1 win number eight.
“We are coming to Moonee Valley with a horse that has got a few things in his favour, but I take a lot of heart out of what older Takeover Target did,” Heathcote said.
“He won a Group 1 when he was nine and raced at Royal Ascot when he was 10 and he was a freak, and so too is Buffering.
“I look at this horse every day and marvel at him. He is just an unbelievable racehorse and his enthusiasm levels are as high as they’ve been in the last three or four years.”
Chautauqua heads the betting for the Moir Stakes at $2.40 with Ladbrokes.com.au while Buffering is listed as an $8.50 chance.
Early market order for the Moir Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.40 Chautauqua, $3.80 Extreme Choice, $7 Lucky Hussler, $8.50 Buffering, $13 Heatherley, $15 Flamberge, Wild Rain, $17 Ball Of Muscle, Redzel, $31 Chloe In Paris.