Trainer Robert Heathcote is delighted with the way that Buffering has responded to treatment for a foot abscess and is extremely confident that the popular sprinter will be passed fit to run in the 2014 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Buffering missed a key piece of trackwork yesterday after he was found with a foot abscess that may have been caused by a dirty nail hole and his participation in the Hong Kong Sprint was placed into doubt, but Heathcote told TVN this morning that the Mossman gelding had bounced back extremely well from the setback and had been all but cleared to take his place in the Group 1 event this weekend.
“On Tuesday morning he was five out of five lame, I thought we were going to be in trouble,” Heathcote said.
“David (Hayes) was with me and the horse could barely put his foot on the ground.
“It is quite amazing how much he has improved in the past 24 hours and a lot of the thanks must go to the Hong Kong Jockey Club farrier.
“He pin pointed the issue, drained it and already has the shoe back on.
“This morning (Wednesday) he would be half to maybe one out of five lame.
“I spoke with the vet and asked her thoughts about running Sunday, she said she can’t be 100 per cent about anything but 99 per cent sure he will be fine to run.
“That is good enough for me.”
Buffering missed what was set to be his final serious piece of trackwork at Sha Tin yesterday, but Heathcote has been adamant over the last fortnight that the seven-year-old is at peak fitness after running in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m), Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) during his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
Heathcote said that he will be asking the Hong Kong Jockey Club for permission to give Buffering a breeze-up on a turf surface at Sha Tin on Friday morning and gave the talented sprinter extra time on the water walker this morning.
Buffering has remained steady at 2014 Hong Kong Sprint odds of $9 despite the minor setback, while Group 1 debutant Aerovelocity ($5.50) is still a narrow favourite from consistent sprinter Lucky Nine ($7), last start winner Peniaphobia ($7) and Irish hope Sole Power ($8.50).