Leading Australian sprinter Buffering did not participate in trackwork at Sha Tin this morning due to a hoof abscess, but trainer Robert Heathcote remains confident that his star galloper will be passed fit to run in the 2014 Hong Kong International Sprint on Sunday.
Heathcote was planning to give Buffering his final piece of serious work ahead of the Hong Kong International and was thrilled with the physical condition of the four-time Group 1 winner, but the seven-year-old did not appear at trackwork as scheduled this morning.
The leading Queensland trainer told South China Morning Post that Buffering was suffering from a minor foot abscess, but he said that it was extremely unlikely the issue would cause the seven-year-old to miss the 2014 Hong Kong Sprint and he was not overly concerned about the veteran sprinter missing his piece of fast work.
“It’s called a dirty nail hole,” Heathcote said.
“The place where the nail goes into the hoof gets a bit of dirt in it and gets infected.
“Before the vets and the farrier got to him, he couldn’t put weight on his off fore foot, but now that it has been drained he’s already able to put weight on the foot and I think he’ll be okay.
“If there’s anything good about it, it’s that it has come up so quickly and it can resolve itself quickly.
“If it’s resolved by Thursday or Friday he can have a breeze, but he is a fit horse and the main thing is to get him to the race.
“It is only a mild concern.”
While Heathcote is not overly worried about Buffering’s foot injury, he is slightly nervous about the upcoming Hong Kong International Sprint barrier draw and is desperately hoping to draw an inside gate.
Buffering is set to take up the running in the early stages of the Hong Kong Sprint and Heathcote believes that an inside draw will give Buffering the best possible chance to record the biggest win of his racing career to date.
“It is essential that we draw a good barrier and Buffering gets a good getaway, pours the pressure on from the home turn and can hopefully stave them off,” Heathcote said.
“It is a wonderful format and it is sure to be a very exciting race.”
Buffering is currently available at 2014 Hong Kong International Sprint odds of $9, while Aerovelocity ($5.50) remains favourite from Lucky Nine ($7) and Peniaphobia ($7).