Buffering upset the world’s highest rated sprinter to win the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night and trainer Robert Heathcote believes that his star galloper may be able to produce an ever better performance in the 2014 Manikato Stakes at the same venue on October 24.
Buffering produced a trademark front-running performance to take out the Moir Stakes and the leading Queensland trainer told Racing Ahead that the Mossman gelding had come out of the race in outstanding condition and would be given the chance to record a fifth win at Group 1 level in the Manikato Stakes.
“Melanie (Leitch) got him back home and called me while were still down in town and she said she can’t believe it, he has thrown his head into the feed bin and he was just bright as a button,” Heathcote said.
“I took him for a long walk on Saturday morning, or I should say he took me for a walk, and he was fantastic.
“He has pulled up great and I think that he will take improvement from the run.
“I will do what I did last time, we will give him a jump out at Flemington maybe in a couple of weeks’ time and we will go fresh into the Manikato.
“Buffering has also shown that he races well on the fresh side.”
Jockey Craig Newitt was criticised for handing the lead to Buffering after Lankan Rupee jumped in front of his rival in the Moir Stakes, but Heathcote believes that the criticism was unwarranted.
Heathcote said that Damian Browne would have pressed forward on Buffering even if Lankan Rupee had fought for the lead and he believes that an early speed battle could have set the race up for third placegetter Rebel Dane.
“I think that Craig has come in for a bit of unwarranted criticism particularly after the first race when Lankan Rupee was beaten in that 100 metre race,” Heathcote said.
“Everybody knows that Buffering is a front-runner and I actually came out in the media and said that we are going to lead.
“When Lankan Rupee jumped as well as he did, I think that it was a pre conceived plan of Mick and Craig to let Buffering lead and take the jump on him, which they did.
“Maybe Craig might have underestimated Buffering in the run, but as I said previously he is back to somewhere near his back.
“If Lankan Rupee had led we would have pushed on and we wouldn’t have taken the sit.
“I think that is important to understand and who knows what the result would have been then, maybe Rebel Dane would have gotten over the top of both of them.”
Scamanda (1976), Manikato (1982) and Spinning Hill (2002) are the only horses that have won the Moir Stakes and Manikato Stakes in the same year.