Brisbane’s leading trainer Robert Heathcote will send Buffering to the spelling paddock before preparing him for the 2015 Brisbane Winter Carnival following a below par run in the Group 1 HK$18.5m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Heathcote conceded that Buffering raced below his best at the end of a tough Melbourne campaign as well as battling a foot injury but wasn’t disappointed with his sixth to local sprinter Aerovelocity, trained by Hong Kong based Kiwi trainer Paul O’Sullivan.
“I think he just raced a touch flat today, the tough campaign and his foot issues this week have probably caught up with him,” Heathcote told Racing Network.
Heathcote was concerned early on in the race when he could see that Buffering wasn’t travelling as smoothly as usual outside of the eventual winner Aerovelocity before dropping off in the straight to miss a place.
“After he went 50 metres I knew we were in trouble because he didn’t show his natural zip from the gates,” Heathcote said
“He got across okay but he wasn’t at his best, it is not easy to come over here and take on the locals on their turf.
“The winner has gone extremely well, he is a serious sprinter.
“We haven’t got the desired result but he wasn’t disgraced.”
Jockey Damian Browne agreed with Heathcote that the seven year old wasn’t at his best but he kept trying right to the line.
“I’d say he was below his best today. He has had a couple of tough runs in Melbourne and probably just had enough,” Browne said.
“He just kept grinding, he couldn’t dash.”
Hong Kong premiership winning jockey Zac Purton controlled the pace in front on Aerovelocity to claim another Group 1 victory at Sha Tin.
The likely targets for the Buffering during next year’s Winter Carnival are the two Doomben Group 1 weight for age sprints, the $500,000 BTC Cup (1200m) on May 9 and the
$750,000 Doomben 10000 (1350m) on May 23.
Buffering has been one of the top rated Australian sprinters for the last four seasons and collected his fourth Group 1 victory during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival when he beat Lankan Rupee in the $450,000 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.
At his latest run before heading to Hong Kong Buffering finished a brave fourth, after racing on the pace, to Terravista in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8.