Leading Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote has said there will be no excuses for star gelding Buffering who is at full fitness for Saturday’s Group 1 $1 million Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.
The Queensland sprinter yesterday drew barrier 18 for the carnival’s feature sprint and Heathcote will leave it to experienced Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman to guide the four-year-old into a winning position.
“We’ll still go forward we have to, it’s the way the horse has raced all his career and the way he has raced successfully,” Heathcote said.
“It certainly opens up a new option for Hugh…he can determine where is best and he may even take a sit if the opportunity arises.
“I’ve got to hand the baton over to Hugh and say away you go, good luck.”
Buffering bounced back successfully from a stone bruise injury to run second in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 last start and is back to full fitness.
The son of Mossman will carry the top weight of 58kg as he attempts to score his first victory at the elite level.
“We’ve got him 100 per cent for his race on Saturday,” Heathcote said.
“There’ll be no excuses aside from maybe bad luck.”
The gelding came within a head of claiming a Group 1 victory earlier this year when second to Hay List in the Newmarket Handicap and also finished third to Black Caviar in the Lightning Stakes.
With Black Caviar Royal Ascot bound and Hay List on the sidelines with health concerns, Buffering looked set to claim the BTC Cup before being struck down with a stone bruise injury the day before the race.
Buffering boasts an excellent record of nine wins and 10 placings from 25 starts and has collected more than $1.4 million in prize money.
Widely touted as the nation’s third best sprinter, he finished fourth in last year’s Stradbroke Handicap when carrying 52kg as a three-year-old.