The looming speed battle between Buffering and Rain Affair in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday will play right into the hands of Ric McMahon and local three year old Better Than Ready.
Group 1 bridesmaids Buffering and Rain Affair are both noted front runners and neither set of connections would want to give up the top spot and tomorrow’s barrier will be very important leading up to Saturday’s clash.
While the Kelly Schweida trained Better Than Ready is badly treated by the weight for age scale, McMahon can see the two tough sprinters cutting at each other up front while he is smoking his pipe back in the field.
“Weight-for-age doesn’t really suit us, there isn’t much of a weight difference to Buffering. But there will be a big weight turnaround come Stradbroke Day where Better Than Ready won’t have much weight at all,” McMahon said.
“I really hope they go quick in front in the BTC Cup on Saturday. That is going to be crucial. If they don’t go hard enough, he might struggle to get home over the top.
But McMahon has found a lot of positives for Saturday but added that the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 is his main target.
The long Eagle Farm straight will suit Better Than Ready and with the Brisbane Racing Club switching the BTC Cup from Doomben in anticipation of Black Caviar coming, might play into the three year olds favour.
“The change to Eagle Farm does suit us with the longer straight … it gives us a bit more of a run in and a bit more time to pick up the leaders,” McMahon said.
“I also think Buffering might be a bit better around Doomben than he is at Eagle Farm. If they go 100 miles an hour, my horse will be hitting the line hard.
“He is a genuine chance if things play into his hands, he can win, but certainly look out for him in the Stradbroke.”
Whatever Better Than Ready does on Saturday, he will be better suited in the Stradbroke where he will meet Buffering and Rain Affair much better at the weights, being well down near the bottom while this week he is only one and a half kilos below the Group 1 competitors.
Buffering has been placed at Group 1 level on seven occasions and is a winner at weight for age six times while Rain Affair has been placed three times in Group 1s with four wins at weight for age.
Better Than Ready has only competed in Group 1 company once when he ran a credible fifth to Shamexpress in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Autumn Carnival and has no experience at weight for age.
McMahon who has a long history of weight problems says that he will be able get down to the 52kgs or 52.5kgs that Better Than Ready is likely to be allocated in the Stradbroke.
“I rode Risk Aversion at 52.5kg in the Coolmore and that wasn’t a problem,” McMahon said.
“It’s not easy, but I have got plenty of time to prepare for the Stradbroke. I know Better Than Ready is going to get no weight in the Stradbroke, so I have got a bit of time.”
Better Than Ready showed his liking for the long Eagle Farm straight scoring over 1000m at his last start while Buffering returned from a disappointing Spring to score first up in the Group 2 $175,000 Coca-Cola Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on April 27.
While Rain Affair has been mixing it with the best with a fourth to the mighty mare Black Caviar in the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 13 followed by a second to glamour three year old All Too Hard in the Group 1 $400,000 Yarraman Park All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 27.
As expected Buffering is the $2.80 favourite to score his first Group 1 victory with last year’s BTC Cup winner Sea Siren at $4.
Better Than Ready is also prominent in the betting at $4.50 with Rain Affair breathing down his neck at $5.