Trainer Robert Heathcote has confirmed that Buffering will head to the spelling paddock and will not contest the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 7.
Buffering has raced consistently since starting his autumn preparation, but was beaten as favourite in both the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 10 and the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at the same venue on Saturday.
The Mossman gelding has finished second carrying the top-weight in the past two editions of the Stradbroke Handicap, but Heathcote told AAP that he does not think it would be fair to ask Buffering to take on the likes of Doomben 10,000 winner Spirit Of Boom or talented filly Srikandi carrying the top weight of 59 kilograms next Saturday.
“The bottom line is the Stradbroke is a handicap and he will get 59 kilograms – he can’t win it with that weight,” Heathcote said.
“Buffering has been beaten at set weights twice by Spirit of Boom but I will have to give him 1.5 kilos.
“He is getting to an age where we have to manage his career and what is the point of sending him around in a race he can’t win and if Srikandi runs in the Stradbroke he would be giving her anything up to eight kilos.”
Buffering was the star sprinting performer of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, taking out the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 and the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 23 and is set following a similar path during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) has been in the back of Heathcote’s mind for a number of years and the leading Brisbane trainer said that this could be the year that Buffering gets the opportunity to compete on the international stage.
Buffering now has an incredible 16 Group 1 placings on his racing resume and has accumulated over $4.3 million since making his racing debut with a win in the Russell Daniels Handicap (1110m) at Doomben in 2010.
Srikandi ($4.80) is currently a clear favourite in 2014 Stradbroke Handicap betting markets from Doomben 10,000 fourth placegetter Rebel Dane ($7), two-time Group 1 winner Spirit Of Boom ($8) and Phillip Stokes-trained Hucklebuck ($10).