Trainer Robert Heathcote will let time decide if seven times Group 1 winner Buffering will race on into the Spring or be retired.
Buffering was cleared of any serious leg injury after pulling up lame when he failed to beat a runner home in the last Sunday’s Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong.
“We will just let time be the best healer and he will tell us where we head after quarantine and a break,” Heathcote said.
“I’m still not going to definitively say he will race on but I’m not going to say he is retired.”
“I won’t be running him for the sake of running him and I love the quote of John Hawkes (on Monday) when they thought long and hard about going to England with Chautauqua.
“John said to me ‘it’s not about the money and it is in the best interest of the horse not to go’, and full credit to them.”
The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Stewards reported that Buffering pulled up lame in the off fore leg and there was also blood in his trachea following the Group 1 sprint.
But Heathcote was happier on Monday after a vet’s examination revealed that Buffering’s leg injury was not as bad as first thought.
“The vets were over the moon with him (Monday morning) and they couldn’t believe his recovery,” Heathcote said.
“There is no filling in the joint and he didn’t require any X-rays and trotted up sound. They think he possibly just jarred up a bit and it wasn’t the track but just his age.”
Jockey Damian Browne let Buffering take up his familiar role in front, but the eight year old was given no peace from local sprinters Peniaphobia and Aerovelocity and faded in the straight to finish last of fourteen in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize behind the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua.
Buffering was put straight into quarantine to return to Australia with Chairman’s Sprint Prize winner Chautauqua and the Lindsay Park trained Rising Romance who finished tenth behind Werther in the Group 1 HK$20m Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m) a Sha Tin on April 24.
Heathcote was looking for a better result from Buffering who at his previous start had beaten a top quality field of international sprinters to take out the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan in Dubai on March 26 to claim his seventh Group 1 win.
Buffering’s Group 1 winning record:
- 2013: $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington, $500,000 Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth
- 2014: $450,000 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley
- 2015: $450,000 City Jeep Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley, $1m Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth.
- 2016: US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan in Dubai.