Queensland sprinter Buffering’s chances of scoring a first Group 1 victory in the Stradbroke Handicap have become far tougher after drawing barrier 18 for the $1 million feature event.
Already facing the task of winning the Group 1 sprint carrying the top weight of 58kg, it serves as a further blow to the Robert Heathcote-trained star who has had an interrupted winter campaign.
The son of Mossman bounced back terrifically from the stone bruise injury that saw him withdrawn from the BTC Cup when he produced a courageous effort to finish runner-up in the Doomben 10,000.
Heathcote said his stable star is now back to full fitness but faces a tough ask to win what is the prized event of the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
“It’s certainly made it a little tougher for our horse,” Heathcote said.
“I see some of the other main contenders for the race, they’ve drawn favourably.
“Hugh Bowman’s going to have to be at his best and we’ll need a bit of luck that’s for sure.”
Heathcote also admits the 58kg top weight presents an obstacle but is confident his stable star can overcome that.
“Admittedly, 58 kilos against quality sprinters, having to give away weight is going to be a monumental task but Buffering is up to the task,” Heathcote said.
It has made the job of leading Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman more difficult who will be charged with the responsibility of piloting Buffering into a winning position.
Bowman assumed the ride on the star sprinter for the Doomben 10,000 following the suspension of Nash Rawiller and will stay on board after the impressive second-place effort to Sea Siren.
Bowman’s association with Buffering began when he rode him to a fourth-place effort in the Coolmore Stud Stakes in November 2010 and it was the jockey who alerted Heathcote he had a special horse on his hands.
“Hughy came in and he ran a dying fourth and he said Rob, you’ve got one of the best three or four horses in the country,” Heathcote said.
Buffering is widely touted as the third best sprinter in Australia behind Black Caviar and Hay List and on numerous occasions the star pair have prevented him from claiming elite level victory.
He came the closest he ever has to Group 1 victory in March when he took Hay List all the way to the line before being beaten in a photo finish in the prestigious Newmarket Handicap.
BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000 winner Sea Siren has received a favourable barrier six position as she attempts to take out the third leg of the Brisbane sprint treble.