Crowd favourite Buffering is likely to head to the outside fence and set the pace in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight on Saturday.
Last Saturday, on the first day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival, jockeys were desperately trying to get to the inside of the track, but on Crown Oaks Day on Thursday, the winners started to come down the grandstand side of the track.
Top Brisbane trained Robert Heathcote has taken that on board and said that Damian Browne and Buffering were most likely to head to the grandstand side from barrier seven in the straight 1200m dash down the Flemington straight.
“Probably (the barrier suits) now,” Heathcote told Racing.com’s Racing Ahead on RSN.
“I watched the races yesterday from home. It did appear the stand side was slightly favoured.
“If that’s the case, then barrier seven is the place to be.”
Buffering was able to win the Darley Classic in 2013 when it was called the VRC Sprint Classic when Browne took up his familiar spot in front.
The five time Group 1 winner raced on the pace when he resumed for a win in the Group 1 $450,000 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 and then showed a clean set of heels in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 23 before finishing fifth to Chautauqua.
“I kind of thought that [an easy lead was on the cards] going into the Manikato too, but it wasn’t the case,” Heathcote said.
“We know the way Buffering races, and the other jockeys will be mindful of that as well.
“Their best form is stalking the lead and sitting off the back of the pace with cover, and coming hard late. It’ll be an interesting tactical battle, no doubt.”
The Flemington track is still rated a heavy 8 on Friday following the storms that hit Melbourne on Crown Oaks Day on Thursday but that should not worry Buffering who has won twice on a heavy track and once on a soft track.
Buffering has been marked as a $15 chance for the Darley Classic at Ladbrokes.com.au and will again be up against Chautauqua who is the short priced favourite at $1.60 to win back to back Group 1 victories.
The Joe Pride trained Terravista and Stradbroke Handicap winner Srikandi are the only other runners under double figures and share the second line of betting at $8.
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Darley Classic market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.60 Chautauqua, $8 Terravista, Srikandi, $12 Lumosty, $15 Buffering, $16 Boban, $18 Delectation, $31 Flamberge, $41 Bring Me The Maid, $81 Tiger Tees.
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