Premier Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote is confident his classy sprinter Buffering can turn the tables on Sea Siren when the pair meet in the Group 1 $500,000 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley tomorrow night.
A trouble free Spring preparation for Buffering is just what Heathcote was hoping for after the five year old was troubled with feet problems prior to running a gallant second to the John O’Shea trained Sea Siren in the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 26.
“Sea Siren is dual group 1 winner, so you can’t take anything away from her and she’s going to be the one to beat in my opinion, but he doesn’t have a foot abscess this time,” Heathcote said.
“The last time he met her he was coming off a foot abscess, he’d missed a fair bit of work, and it was also at 1350. He’s a much better 1200-metre horse than he is a 1350 horse.”
Buffering was forced to miss a couple of weeks work leading up to the Doomben 10,000 after acquiring a foot abscess that required rest and treatment but was still able to push Sea Siren to the limit only going down by a neck.
Then a Group 1 win was denied when run down by Mid Summer Music in the $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9 when lumped with 58kg.
Buffering has had a frustrating run of minor placings at Group 1 level but Heathcote has the sprinter primed to race at his best in the Manikato.
“We’re 100 per cent confident we’ve got him where we want him,” Heathcote said.
“He took considerable improvement out of the Moir into the Schillaci and I’m hoping we’ll see the same type of improvement into the Manikato if that is at all possible.”
In fact, Heathcote had Buffering feeling so well that he was forced to start in the Group 2 $300,000 Spotless Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 28, which he won and then backed up with a win in the Group 2 $220,000 Schweppes Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 13.
Buffering is striving to shed his bridesmaid tag after recording seven placings at Group 1 level and with super mare Black Caviar and mighty sprinter Hay List on the sidelines, he gets his chance to stamp his authority in the major sprint races throughout the Spring.
Buffering is already in the red in early markets for the Manikato at $1.95 with Hugh Bowman to ride again while Sea Siren is the second pick at $6.50 in front of Lone Rock at $8.
O’Shea is happy with the fitness levels of Sea Siren for her first run since finishing ninth in the Stradbroke and was impressed with her work at the Breakfast With The Stars at Moonee Valley on Tuesday morning.
“It would appear she and Buffering are probably the best two sprinters that are punching around in Australia at the moment,” O’Shea said.
“Some of them may have a fitness edge on Friday night but she’s trialled well and should run well. Her ultimate goal is the G1 Hong Kong International Sprint in December.”
The Group 1 HK$14m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) is run at Sha Tin on December 9 and Heathcote is also considering that as an option for Buffering.