Buffering was included in the 2015 Winterbottom Stakes field that was released yesterday afternoon and trainer Robert Heathcote is confident that his star galloper will prove very tough to beat in the Group 1 event at Ascot on Saturday.
Buffering missed the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival due to injury and there were concerns that he would never race again, but he returned to the races in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 and he led from start to finish to record a very brave victory.
The Mossman gelding was locked in an early speed battle with Rich Enuff in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 23 and he was still able to battle home bravely to finish fifth, while he led for the majority of the straight before being run down late by Delectation, Chautauqua and Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 7.
Heathcote told Racing Ahead this morning that he has a great deal of respect for the locally-trained horses in the Winterbottom Stakes, but he believes that Buffering will not be denied a sixth win at the highest level of racing if he performs at anywhere near his best form in the $1 million event this weekend.
“I am very happy with him,” Heathcote said.
“He arrived safe and sound, he settled in well and he ate and drank well.
“He will do his final bit of work at Ascot this morning.
“He is such an experienced and seasoned traveller and he takes it all in his stride.
“That is the secret to the success of the horse and it will be the case here again.
“I have plenty of respect for last year’s winner Magnifisio and Watermans Bay is always competitive at this level.
“Lucky Street is on the way through and Fast ‘N’ Rocking beat us in the Manikato.
“If Buffering turns up in his best form and that form is similar to his form in the Darley then he is going to be very hard to beat.”
Buffering jumped from barrier eight when he scored a narrow win over Moment Of Change in the 2013 edition of the Winterbottom Stakes, but Heathcote is hopeful that the Mossman gelding will drew a touch closer to the inside when the Winterbottom Stakes barrier draw is conducted later this morning.
Buffering is currently available at 2015 Winterbottom Stakes odds of $4.20 and he is a clear favourite from Magnifisio ($5.50), Lucky Street ($6.50), Watermans Bay ($7) and Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($8).