Talented sprinters Buffering, Temple Of Boom and Villa Verde are all set to resume in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes(1000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday after being included in the nominations for the Group 2 event.
Buffering has not been seen at the races since he finished his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with three straight victories at Group 1 level in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 and the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 23.
The Mossman gelding had his final gallop, before Saturday, on the course proper at Eagle Farm this morning and the triple Group 1 winner ran his final 400 metres in 22.4 seconds without being pressed by jockey Damian Browne.
Also flying the flag for Queensland in the 2014 Challenge Stakes will be Temple Of Boom, who has not been seen at the races since he flew home late to finish fifth behind Buffering in the VRC Sprint Classic.
Temple Of Boom has not recorded a race win since he took out the 2012 edition of the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) in a blanket finish and connections will be hoping he can replicate the autumn form of stablemate Spirit Of Boom.
Villa Verde joined the stable of Anthony Cummings at the end of his spring preparation and the leading Sydney trainer will be giving the daughter of Not A Single Doubt her second opportunity in open racing in the Challenge Stakes this weekend.
The talented filly has been plagued by a breathing problem throughout her racing career, but performed well in the Nine West Plate (1000m), Blue Sapphire (1200m) and Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) before finishing at the tail of the field in the VRC Sprint Classic.
The Challenge Stakes is set to feature four Group 1 winners; with Snitzerland and Bel Sprinter both nominated to contest the $400,000 event.
Snitzerland broke through for her maiden Group 1 victory with a strong performance in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 15 and is aiming to become the first horse since Star Of Florida in 2004 to win The Challenge Stakes in back-to-back years.
Bel Sprinter scored a spectacular victory over Snitzerland in The Galaxy at Rosehill Gardens last year, but has been unable to recapture that form and resumed with a ninth place finish behind Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
The Joseph Pride-trained duo of Rain Affair and Tiger Tees, quality mare Satin Shoes, talented colt Whittington and Darley-owned Sessions were also included in the 2014 Challenge Stakes nominations.