Trainer Robert Heathcote has cancelled a Royal Ascot mission for Buffering and the seven times Group 1 winner will return to Queensland to prepare for a 2016 Spring Carnival campaign after running in the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1.
Buffering is on his way to Hong Kong after winning Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan in Dubai on March 26 and Heathcote was originally keen to accept an invitation to run at the Royal Ascot meeting in England in June.
“In the end Royal Ascot was just a bridge too far,” Heathcote said.
“It was certainly enticing but I’ve still got a business to run back here and the logistics of it were too hard.
“Mel who is travelling with Buffering is my racing manager back here so I am also without her.
“Buffering’s been to Melbourne, to Perth, to Dubai and now Hong Kong.
“He deserves a trip home and some sun on his back and hopefully I can get him ready to win a fourth Moir Stakes.”
The Group 1 $450,000 Moir Stakes (1000m) is run at Moonee Valley in the early part of Melbourne Spring Carnival and Buffering won his first in 2012 when it was run as Group 2 race. The Moir Stakes was then upgraded to Group 1 status and Buffering was able to claim the trophy again in 2014 and 2015.
Buffering, with regular rider Damian Browne in the saddle, beat an international field of sprinters on the turf at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night and will be taking on another world class field in the Chairman’s Sprint, including the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua.
Chautauqua secured a trip to Hong Kong after winning back to back Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 2, which took his Group 1 winning tally to four.
The flying grey’s other Group 1 victories came in the 2015 Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley and in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
The Group 1 winning sprinters last met in the 2015 Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington when Chautauqua ran second to Delectation with Buffering not far away in fourth spot and Heathcote is looking forward to the return clash in Hong Kong.
“I’m looking forward to the race,” Heathcote said.
“Chautauqua is a thrilling animal and clearly the world’s best sprinter.”
“But there was only a neck between them in the Darley Classic.”
Buffering has pulled up in great order following his Al Quoz Sprint win and heads to Hong Kong in first class shape.
“Buffering was vetted this morning ahead of his trip to Hong Kong and the vet in Dubai said he had the cleanest legs for an eight-year-old he’d ever seen,” Heathcote said.
Buffering is the winner of twenty of his fifty-two race starts, including seven Group 1s, and has earned in excess of $7 million in prizemoney.