The weather is the biggest worry concerning trainer Robert Heathcote as he prepares his stable star Buffering for the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
The Bureau Of Meteorology has forecast showers late in the week for Brisbane and Heathcote fears a wet track could be the downfall of his three time Group 1 winner.
“I am nervous because I think he is vulnerable on too wet a track. It takes away his biggest asset and that is his high cruising speed and his ability to sustain it,” Heathcote told The Courier-Mail.
“It is a concern.”
Even though Buffering’s record shows that he has won on the slow and the heavy, Heathcote says the statistics don’t tell the real story and he would like see the six year old on top of the ground.
“It is a misconception that people think Buffering is a very good wet tracker. I don’t believe he is,” Heathcote said.
After being the Group 1 bridesmaid for so long, Buffering finally lived up to his potential and scored a hat trick of Group 1 wins during last year‘s Spring Carnival.
Buffering broke through for his maiden Group 1 win when he held on to beat Lucky Nine in the $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley and then went on to beat Shamexpress and Moment Of Change in the Group 1 $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington over the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Heathcote then took Buffering to Perth and he was able to beat Moment Of Change by a whisker in the Group 1 $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 23.
The premiership winning trainer gave Buffering two runs in the Sydney Autumn Carnival before heading back to Brisbane to chase a home town Group 1 victory.
Buffering was beaten less than two lengths when a first up seventh to Villa Verde in the Group 2 $400,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 15 then ran a mighty race when third to Lankan Rupee and Rebel Dane in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12, the first day of ‘The Championships’.
Rival trainer Tony Gollan will saddle up Temple Of Boom and Spirit Of Boom in the BTC Cup and is also a little concerned about the forecast of rain.
Even though a rain affected track wouldn’t harm the chances of Temple Of Boom, half-brother Spirit Of Boom could be at a disadvantage, but Gollan is also concerned that Brisbane tracks won’t cope well with a look of moisture.
“The forecast is pretty ordinary for the back end of the week and I am a little bit concerned,” Gollan said.
“I don’t think that tracks here can handle a hell of a lot of rain, so I hope we get dry weather.”
And trainer Gerald Ryan has already said that his Group 1 winning mare Snitzerland won’t be taking her place in the BTC Cup field if the track is wet.
Buffering and Darley three year old Sidestep share favouritism for the BTC Cup at $3.20 ahead of Spirit Of Boom and Hot Snitzel at $8, Snitzerland at $9 and Temple Of Boom at $11.