Trainer Robert Heathcote has confirmed that Buffering will take no part in the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and will be saved for the Group 1 sprints during the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Buffering returned from Hong Kong just over two weeks ago after he finished a lackluster sixth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 14 and after spending two weeks at the International Equine Centre at Werribee, returned to Queensland this morning for a stint in the spelling paddock at Washpool Lodge.
Heathcote told Sky Racing HQ that Buffering had taken no ill effect from the tough trip to Hong Kong and had put on plenty of weight during his stint in quarantine, but he said that he was still keen to give the Mossman gelding a break from racing during the autumn period.
“He arrived at the Gold Coast this morning and the boys told me that he looks fantastic and has travelled well,” Heathcote said.
“We have given him time to make the trip from the Melbourne quarantine centre up to the Gold Coast and he is on his way to Washpool Lodge.
“I will give him a little bit of time to get over the journey.
“He has done quite well during the quarantine period, he was about 508 kilos when he raced, and he is up to 525 kilograms now.
“We will bypass the autumn, we will let the superstars crack into each other down there and we will leave Buffering to go around up here at home during the winter.”
The redevelopment of Eagle Farm racecourse means that the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m), Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) will all be held at Doomben; with the Stradbroke Handicap run over the untraditional distance of 1350 metres.
Heathcote elected to bypass the Stradbroke Handicap with Buffering in 2014 when it was held at Eagle Farm, but he believes that the transfer to Doomben is an advantage for the seven-year-old and will consider running his star sprinter in the Group 1 event even if he is allocated the top weight.
“That is certainly more favorable for Buffering,” Heathcote said of the shift to Doomben.
“Whilst he has never won a Group 1 in his home state he has performed admirably and he has finished second in two Stradbroke’s.
“He has also performed well over the road at Doomben in the 10,000 and the 1350 of the Stradbroke now certainly makes it a more viable proposition.”
Buffering has recorded four Group 1 victories in Melbourne and Perth, but is still chasing a maiden win at the highest level in Brisbane.