Craig Newitt has picked three time Group 1 winner Buffering as the hardest for Lankan Rupee to beat in the Group 1 $450,000 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Lankan Rupee, with Newitt aboard, was beaten first up as a very short priced favourite by Angelic Light in the Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 6, but the top Melbourne jockey has named the Queensland sprinter the one to beat his week, not the Robbie Griffiths trained mare.
“You don’t find horses like him in even 10 or 20 years,’’ Newitt told The Courier-Mail, referring to the Robert Heathcote trained Buffering.
“He fronts up every preparation against the elite level and just keeps turning up.
“Buffering is a gelding and he will be around for another couple of years yet. He is always a measuring stick.
“They talk about Lankan Rupee being the highest-rated sprinter in the world, but there is probably only a couple of lengths between them at their peak.
“You know what Buffering is going to do. He is going to jump, he’s going to run and he’s going to test everything to its limit. He is definitely the one to beat.’’
But trainer Mick Price and Newitt both expect Lankan Rupee to take a lot of benefit from his first up defeat and are looking forward to seeing return to the winner’s stall following an impressive hit out at Moonee Valley on Monday Morning.
“Mick just wanted him to have a nice hit-out. He said you don’t have to hold him back to the other horse,” Newitt said.
“He won’t be as fresh and I think if he draws a reasonable barrier, with horses like Buffering in there, he should get a nice run in the race. And hopefully class prevails.”
Lankan Rupee and Buffering met in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12 during ‘The Championships’ and while Lankan Rupee handled the heavy track conditions with ease to score a comfortable win, Buffering was not clearly at his best in the wet ground to finish third.
Buffering then had a relatively disappointing Brisbane Winter Carnival with two thirds in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) and the Group 1 $650,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m), both at Doomben.
But reports coming out of Eagle Farm is that Buffering is back on track and will arrive in Melbourne in top condition for his Group 1 assignment on Friday night.
“I was hoping to sneak into Melbourne and ambush Lankan Rupee and co. Then I see Damian (Browne, jockey) in the media saying how well Buffering is going,” Heathcote said.
“Usually you can’t get him to say two words. I think he is fired up after missing out on the jockey of the year award. Our ambush plans have been nobbled by our own camp.”
The Group 1 sprint has only assembled a five horse field with Lankan Rupee drawing gate two with Buffering with Damian Browne beside him at three.
Angelic Light has drawn the outside at five with Ryan Maloney to ride again with the Gary Portelli trained Rebel Dane at four with Craig Williams and Nikki Burke’s Unpretentious to jump from the inside with Damien Oliver to ride.