Trainer Robert Heathcote is confident that Buffering is on track for the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes after winning a jump out in comfortable fashion at Eagle Farm yesterday.
Buffering competed in the opening jump out of the day over 800 metres on the dirt track at Eagle Farm and raced away from the rest of the field in the final stages to score an impressive ten lengths victory.
Heathcote told Sky Racing HQ that he questioned whether to give Buffering the hit out on a dirt track, but said that he was happy with the performance of the Mossman gelding and is confident he is going into the $2.5 million race in excellent condition.
“It is something I thought long and hard about, but he was worked on the dirt track at Eagle Farm for most of his career and a fair bit of that has been gallop work,” Heathcote said.
“It was just to give him a hit out and he went straight to the front and whilst he was tested by another horse he let down and won in comfortably by ten.
“He had a nice hit and when he pulled up Damien (Browne) said he was very happy with him.”
Buffering returned to the races, for the first time since he finished the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival with three wins at Group 1 level, in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on March 15 and faded in the final stages of the race to finish seventh behind Villa Verde.
Heathcote admitted directly after the race that he was disappointed with the performance of his star galloper, but after examining the run more closely believes that the six-year-old had plenty of excuses for his first-up defeat and is confident that he will return to his best form in the T.J. Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick on April 12.
“It was a 1000 metres and he was on the part of the track that was maybe a length or two slower than the outside and he did it a little bit tough and couldn’t get out,” Heathcote said.
“His effort was still good and he only went down by one point seven lengths.
“As he has gotten older I think the 1200 metres is more his go.
“I am happy with the horse and I fully expect the real Buffering to stand-up.
“I fully expect a cracking field in the T.J., one would expect nothing less in a $2.5 million race, and they certainly won’t be loafing in it – not with Buffering there.”
Buffering ($6) is currently on the second line of 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes betting markets; with Lankan Rupee still a clear favourite at odds of $3.80.