Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote is going through the final phases of work with his two star spring prospects Buffering and Woorim.
Both horses performed valiantly during the Brisbane winter carnival and both are expected to be well in the mix again when they head south for the Melbourne spring carnival.
There is less than a month to go until he assembles his team and makes the journey across the east coast in a trip he hopes will climax with a maiden Group 1 triumph.
Buffering has been back in work for nearly a month now and has a first up date with the Group 2 Ian McEwen Trophy over 1000m at Moonee Valley on September 10th.
Woorim will make his return at home over the same distance at Doomben on August 27 before being loaded aboard the same flight in the first week of September.
Both horses are capable of mixing it with Group 1 fields and for Woorim the task will be the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400m on September 24.
“Woorim will have his first start here on August 27 then will fly to Melbourne with Buffering,” Heathcote said.
“His second run will be in the Sir Rupert Clarke, the same race he finished third behind Response last year.”
Heathcote says he’s pleased with the way both horses have returned after a spell and he expects them to be in good shape by the time they arrive at his Flemington base.
“I’ve been given approval to stable my team at Flemington and there’ll be a few others go down to join them later on,” Heathcote said.
“Buffering has been in work for three weeks. He had four weeks in the paddock after the winter and he’s done brilliantly.
“Unfortunately, I probably won’t have enough time to give him a barrier trial here before he goes away.”
Buffering’s Group 1 test will be the Manikato Stakes over 1200m at Moonee Valley, his performance there to dictate what happens later in the carnival.
“I’m not sure what he’ll run in after the Manikato Stakes,” Heathcote said.
“But I’ll be avoiding Black Caviar at all costs right throughout the spring.”
Were it not for the superstars of Black Caviar and Hay List Buffering would likely have already claimed a Group 1 victory when he was third in the BTC Cup back in May.
Previous to that he won the Group 2 Victory Stakes first up and afterwards he showed tremendous fight.
His campaign looked over when he ran last in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 but he rallied for a fourth placed finish to Sincero in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.
He had one more run for another fourth in the Group 3 Healy Stakes before being sent to the paddock.
Woorim meanwhile became the Group 3 BRC Sprint champion in one of the races of the carnival when he showed a blinding turn of foot over the final 200m.
He also ran in the Stradbroke but without much luck finished seventh before having one final run at the Sunshine Coast where he made it back to back Listed Glasshouse Handicap titles.
Damian Browne is tipped to continue his prosperous association with the Heathcote stable and will partner both Buffering and Woorim across the Melbourne carnival.