Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote has revealed he is thrilled with the form and condition of champion sprinter Buffering ahead of his racing return in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Undoubtedly hitting career-best form over a memorable 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Buffering has not been seen at the races since finishing a fighting third behind Spirit Of Boom in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 24th.
Initially touted for an appearance in the featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 7th, Heathcote told AAP he is confident an early return to the spelling paddock will play a major role in a polished first-up performance from the classy seven-year-old.
“He couldn’t have won the Stradbroke with the weight he would have got so I decided to give him a good break with the spring in mind,” Heathcote said.
“I think that decision is going to reap dividends.
“I was hoping to sneak into Melbourne and ambush Lankan Rupee and co. Then I see Damian (Browne, jockey) in the media saying how well Buffering is going.
“Usually you can’t get him to say two words. I think he is fired up after missing out on the jockey of the year award. Our ambush plans have been nobbled by our own camp.”
Contesting a commendable total of five race wins and seventeen minor places from 42 competitive starts so far, Buffering finished second to Samaready in the 2013 edition of the Moir Stakes first-up before securing three impressive Group 1 victories back-to-back in winning the Manikato Stakes (1200m), VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) and Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
Returning in 2014 for seventh in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) on March 15th, the Mossman gelding finished a brave third to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships; returning to his native Brisbane for third in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m), in what was his only other competitive start prior to the Doomben 10,000.
Nominations for the 2014 Moir Stakes are set for release by midday Monday, with a final field and barrier draw due to be confirmed on Wednesday.