Queensland star sprinter Buffering may be in doubt for tomorrow’s Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) but fellow Robert Heathcote-trained gelding Woorim is ready to make his return following a mixed autumn campaign that was disrupted by a respiratory infection.
The six-year-old sprinter got off to a flyer this year when producing an upset to win the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate and then delivered another strong showing to run fifth in a quality Newmarket Handicap field.
The infection was revealed next start when he finished last in the William Reid Stakes and he carried that to Sydney where he again finished at the back of the field in the George Ryder Stakes.
Heathcote said the horse that gave him his first Group 1 victory was always an unknown quantity first-up but had performed well in trackwork throughout the build-up.
“It’s not until Woorim races that we really get to see whether he’s come back a hundred per cent,” he said.
“His work and the way he looks, he’s going to be in the finish I forever expect that.”
The son of Show A Heart is currently paying $11.00 to win the $500,000 feature sprint while stable mate Buffering remains favourite at $2.80.
Buffering has begun treatment for a small stone bruise that was discovered after routine trackwork at Heathcote’s Eagle Farm base this morning.
Heathcote remains hopeful last year’s third place-getter will line up in tomorrow’s opening day of the Brisbane Winter Carnival but is being cautious about his chances.
“I’ve poulticed the hoof to draw some of the pain out and the vets say he’s better than a 50-50 chance of starting but I’m not so sure,” Heathcote said.
“It’s not too serious but I’ve been around long enough to know how long it takes for these injuries to come right.”
If Buffering does start, it stands as his best chance to secure a first-ever Group 1 victory after running behind star sprinters Black Caviar and Hay List on numerous occasions in the past.