Perennial bridesmaid Buffering broke through for his first win at Group 1 level in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night and will have the opportunity to add another win at the highest level of racing when he finishes his campaign with runs in the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 and the Winterbottom Stakes (12000m) in Perth on November 23.
Trainer Robert Heathcote told RSN that he would wait until ‘the dust settles’ before making any decisions on the future of the Mossman gelding but said the current plan is to give the six-year-old two more runs this preparation before sending him to the spelling paddock.
A trip to Royal Ascot has always been on the table of Buffering, if he was able to break through at Group 1 level, and Heathcote confirmed that he would love to give his star sprinter some international racing experience.
“I have been to Royal Ascot a few times and I love all the pageantry of it,” Heathcote said.
“We will wait for the dust to settle.
“We still have the VRC Sprint and I promised the Perth Racing Club that we would try and get Buffering over there this year; it is an ideal race for him the Winterbottom.
“Then we can give him a good spell and map out a path for him next season, which would probably include the Tommy Smith in Sydney and a potentially a trip overseas.”
Buffering has already had thirty-six race starts, since making his debut as a two-year-old in 2010, but Heathcote is confident that the veteran can still race on for a number of years and paid credit to his ability to bounce back after a tough run.
“I would like to think that a horse like this can run on until he is eight or nine but what is extraordinary is that he has got into the ring with some real heavyweights and copped a bit of a pounding from the likes of Black Caviar and Hay List,” Heathcote said.
“The amazing thing with little Buff is that he pulls himself of the canvas and goes out and gives 100 percent again at his next start and he does it time and time again.
“Even this morning Melissa has ridden him at Flemington and he came off the track like a two-year-old so he has extraordinary powers of recovery.”
Buffering has a poor record third-up but Heathcote believes that he has now worked out the ideal racing pattern for the gutsy gelding and is confident that he can become the first horse since You Remember in 1995 to win the Manikato Stakes and the VRC Sprint Classic in the same year.
“We missed going to Caulfield for the Schillaci because when you look at his record his third-up run is generally a flat one and we have made that mistake a couple of times now so we are pretty picky and choosy about where we go now,” Heathcote said.
“We give him plenty of time to get over his runs and I’m proud to say that we got it right this time.
“It may have only been half a head but he fell on the right side of the leger for a change.”