Trainer Robert Heathcote is working on ways to get the dash back into Buffering as he prepares for the Group 1 $650,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Buffering finished a lacklustre third as an odds on favourite to Famous Seamus and Spirit Of Boom in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben last Saturday week and Heathcote is looking for an improved performance this week.
Rider Damian Browne reported that Buffering didn’t race like himself in the BTC Cup and it was plain to see he was struggling from the start when he was slow to leave the barriers and had to be urged hard by Browne to take a sit outside the leader.
“Buffering didn’t begin as well as I expected and he took some time under heavy riding to improve into a forward position with Tiger Tees,” Browne told AAP.
“Usually even if he is slow to begin, Buffering is quick to muster early speed. He travelled comfortably in the middle stages and he did respond to my riding rounding the home turn.
“However, his run to the line was only OK and he raced like a flat horse.”
A post-race examination revealed that Buffering had some soreness in the poll area at the top of his head but Heathcote was reluctant to offer that as a genuine excuse.
The triple Group 1 winner had responded to manipulation treatment from Heathcote’s veterinary surgeon but a recurrence during the week hasn’t really worried the leading trainer.
“We had it corrected last Sunday, but it was out again midweek,” Heathcote told The Courier-Mail.
“It is not an uncommon affliction for horses in training and I’m not that bothered by it to be honest,” Heathcote said.
“He lacked dash in the BTC Cup. Whether that could be attributed to this, I don’t know.”
“Whether or not that is an excuse, I won’t know until the Doomben 10,000.”
Heathcote will mix up Buffering’s week with beach work and a final hit out at Doomben on Tuesday morning.
“He is fit and I will just concentrate on his mental attitude at this stage and he won’t do a lot,” Heathcote said .
After years of being the Group 1 bridesmaid, Buffering claimed a Group 1 hat trick of wins during last Spring with victories in the $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, the $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington and the $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth.
But Heathcote is partly blaming a hard run when Buffering was third on a very heavy track in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12 for his poor showing at Doomben.
“It is also possible that from the T.J. Smith, that run on a heavy track, it may have flattened him and knocked him about,” Heathcote said.
The Gary Portelli trained Rebel Dane heads the Doomben 10,000 market order at Ladbrokes.com.au with Buffering the second favourite at $4 just ahead of Spirit Of Boom at $5.
Knoydart will be making his first Brisbane Winter Carnival appearance in the Doomben 10,000 and has been marked a $9 chance in front of BTC Cup winner Famous Seamus at $10.
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