Buffering dominates G1 sprint

| November 14, 2013
Buffering dominates crack sprint field to win second G1.

Buffering dominates crack sprint field to win second G1.

IT took war horse Buffering 36 starts to chalk up his first Group 1 but his second G1 win at Flemington yesterday was far more dominant.

Black Caviar made the Patinack Farm Classic her own, winning it twice in the last three years, but a new race name and a new era has emerged since the retirement of the world’s greatest sprinter.

Yesterday Buffering, who was galloped into submission a handful of times by Black Caviar, proved arguably the best sprinter in the world with an authoritative win in the $1 million VRC Sprint Classic.

It followed his tenacious, lucky win in the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley last month; breaking a duck of 10 Group One placings from 17 starts at the highest level.

On that occasion Buffering was lucky to hold off Hong Kong star Lucky Nine but yesterday Buffering scooted to an all-the-way win as favourite Lucky Nine struggled.

Yesterday’s hard luck horse was the Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress who was held up in traffic before flashing home for second. “Super run, just got held up,” reported jockey Damien Oliver.

For the Queensland combination of trainer Robert Heathcote and jockey Damien Browne, Buffering’s win capped a lucrative carnival.

Heathcote’s travelling squad has collected three Group 1s – two for Buffering and one for Solzhenitsyn – a Group 2 win for Fire Up Fifi and three Group 1 placings.

Browne, regarded by Heathcote as the most underrated rider in the land, had had a handful of winners, including a last to first win aboard Liesel at Caulfield, arguably the ride of the spring. “He’s just so calm and collected,” Heathcote said of his jockey.

“It’s just heady stuff at the moment. We’ve had a terrific carnival and to top it off today with this horse makes it extra special.

“Two weeks ago he was the bridesmaid who couldn’t win a Group One now he’s knocked off the best in the world.”

Heathcote conceded there were hard luck stories behind Buffering in the Manikato but said there were few excuses for the beaten brigade yesterday.

“I started smiling from the 400m,” he said.

“There were one or two unanswered questions from the Manikato but none today. It was a win of pure guts, determination and ability.”

Buffering’s career or long road trips is about to become expanded, probably overseas.

Buffering will head to Perth for the Winterbottom Stakes later this month before returning to Brisbane where Heathcote will plot an international course.

He said Royal Ascot was unlikely.

“I put it in the too hard basket, although I’m not completely saying no because I used to live not far at South Ealing and went to 15 Royal Ascots,” he said.

“At the end of the day he is a gelding and there might be more attractive international races for us. We run a few million dollar races and at the end of the day Hong Kong (next year) might be more attractive,” he said.

Connections of Hong Kong champion Lucky Nine stood to collect over $1 million bonuses had the horse won yesterday.

Trainer Caspar Fownes said he had no excuses, bar perhaps the straight.

“He was the first horse beaten watching it,” Fownes said.

“The straight is the only excuse I can make.”


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