The solution to Buffering’s Group 1 drought could lie in Perth in November’s Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot.
Arguably the best horse in the country yet to succeed in the top grade, trainer Robert Heathcote has expressed his intention to take the star sprinter west.
From 16 tries at Group 1 level, Buffering is yet to taste success but most agree he is a Group 1 horse.
On Saturday in the Stradbroke Handicap, it looked as if he would finally break through. Then, in heartbreaking fashion for connections, the front-runner fell victim to a freakish last-to-first rails run from ghostly grey Linton.
With the Winterbottom considered to be a “softer” Group 1 than many on the east coast, the race could be the answer to Buffering’s Group 1 woes if he again fails to score at Melbourne’s spring carnival.
The rising six-year-old will have three cracks in Melbourne before heading to Perth, beginning with the recently upgraded Group 1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley. Buffering won the Moir last year when it was still a Group 2 and his fantastic fresh record will give him every chance of a successful title defence.
If all things go to plan, Heathcote said the winner of more than $2.3 million in prizemoney will also contest the Manikato Stakes and Patinack Farm Classic before boarding heading to the Winterbottom on November 23.
“He almost went across last year but I gave him a vaccination for Hong Kong and it gutted him,” Heathcote told the West Australian.
“He will run in the Schweppes Stakes [also known as the Moir] at Moonee Valley in September, the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley four weeks later, the Patinack Farm Classic and then go to Perth.”
Also in line for a trip to Perth is Galaxy winner Bel Sprinter.