Queensland’s leading trainer Robert Heathcote can’t wait to get to Moonee Valley on Cox Plate eve to see Group 1 bridesmaid Buffering deservedly win his first race at the highest levy in the Group 1 $500,000 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on October 26.
Buffering is ready to cement himself as the number one sprinter in the Spring Carnival if he can finally crack his Group 1 hoodoo after being placed on seven occasions including seconds to Mid Summer Music in the $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9 and Sea Siren in the $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doombenon May 26 after an interrupted preparation.
The Mossman five year old also had to be content with placings behind super mare Black Caviar and the mighty Hay List and with those two super sprinters on the sidelines for the Spring, opens up the opportunity for Buffering to gain the top spot.
“Buffering will race on Cox Plate eve in the Manikato and that’s of course his ultimate gold, Group 1,” Heathcote said.
The top trainer has produced Buffering for two first class wins since resuming with a first up win in the Group 2 $300,000 Spotless Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 28 followed by a dominant win in the Group 2 $220,000 Schweppes Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Heathcote was still bubbling with excitement after Solzhenitsyn took out the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap (1600m) wrapping up a tremendous day for the trainer, recording his second Group 1 victory.
Heathcote’s travelling foreman Melissa Leitch has reported from Melbourne that both stable stars have pulled up in top condition after Saturday.
“Melissa knows the horses very well, she lives with them twenty-four seven and Mel said to me Monday morning you wouldn’t know they have gone around, that’s how well they have pulled up,” Heathcote said.
Heathecote is looking for another big weekend over the Moonee Valley Cox Plate Carnival and as well as Buffering racing on the Friday night, Solzhenitsyn will be running in the Group 2 $220,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (16000m) on Cox Plate day.
“Solzhenitsyn is going to Moonee Valley on Thursday for a look around the track because his next race is indeed the Schweppes Crystal Mile, weight for age race over 1600m on Cox Plate day,” Heathcote said.
“So okay we’re not going to be there for the big one but we’ll be there on the day and who knows maybe in twelve months time we’ll be there for the Cox Plate.”
After Moonee Valley Heathcote will aim both horses at Flemington on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival with Buffering heading to the Group 1 $1m Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) and Solzhenitsyn trying for another Group 1 win in the $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m).
“That’s going to be a race that suits him. Over a mile on the big track at Flemington, I’ve openly said with Solzhenitsyn that his biggest asset is not his speed, it’s his stamina and his strength and that’s why he is so strong over the mile and that’s why I think he will be well suited at Flemington,” Heathcote said.