Flying front runner Rain Affair won’t get his own way in front when he takes on local speedster Buffering in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Rain Affair once again set the pace last start in the Group 1 $400,000 Yarraman Park All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 27 but couldn’t hold out three year old All Too Hard’s powerful finish.
The Joe Pride trained five year old was denied a Group 1 victory in the same race last year in the same circumstances when Atlantic Jewel proved too strong over the concluding stages.
Local star Buffering is still searching for his maiden Group 1 after being placed on seven occasions at the top level and also runs his best races rolling along in front.
Rain Affair won’t arrive in Brisbane until later in the week and then stay on for the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 25 and the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.
“He will head up there on Thursday, just the same as I have done previously with the likes of Red Oog (Doomben 10,000 winner) and Tiger Tees (BRC Sprint),” Pride said.
“Bringing them up late works for their first run, and then he will stay there for the Doomben 10,000 and possibly Stradbroke.”
Like Buffering, Rain Affair is still searching for his first Group 1 victory and Pride is hoping Saturday’s weight for age sprint will be a slightly easier assignment after last start’s clash with All Too Hard and when fourth to Black Caviar in the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick two weeks earlier.
“He’s had to take on the best of the best, and I’m looking forward to a little bit of a drop in grade,” he said.
“It’s still a Group 1 race and it will be very competitive, but at least we won’t be bumping into Black Caviar or All Too Hard this time.”
Leading Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote has Buffering back to his best after the five year returned from a break with a sizzling all the way win in the Group 2 $175,000 Coca-Cola Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on April 27.
Heathcote had Buffering primed to win the BTC Cup last year but had to scratch on race morning because of a foot injury.
Last year’s winner Sea Siren will again line up with trainer John O’Shea confident that the four year old mare is ready to fire after putting in two lacklustre runs following an unsuccessful trip to Hong Kong in December when ninth in the Group 1 HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin.
“The problem with going overseas is that it takes so long to get them back and it’s really taken a lot of work to get her fit this time,” O’Shea said.