Robert Heathcote takes Buffering to Randwick this Saturday full of confidence after training a treble at Doomben on Wednesday.
Buffering (6g Mossman – Action Annie by Anabaa) will be back in action after a summer spell against a slick field of sprinters in the G1 Challenge Stakes (1000m). Bookmakers have priced the Queensland champ at $5 behind Snitzerland who has opened a $3 favourite following her last-start victory in the G1 Lightning Stakes at Flemington.
“He’s as good as ever,” Heathcote claimed after the gelding worked over 1000m at Eagle Farm on Tuesday morning. “He came home the last 400 metres in 23 seconds and Damian (Browne) got off smiling.
“He’s drawn perfectly in barrier 3 and can control the tempo on the speed. He gets out fast and then keeps running.”
Buffering is a son of Vinery sire Mossman and he resumes after a spring carnival that garnered Group 1 victories in the MVRC Manikato Stakes, VRC Sprint Classic and WATC Winterbottom Stakes.
After the Challenge Stakes, he will be set for a head-to-head duel with Lankan Rupee in the G1 T J Smith Stakes at Randwick. It will be a showdown for Sprinter of the Year if not Horse of the Year.
Heathcote kicked off a winning hat-trick at Doomben on Wednesday with Hopfgarten. The Mossman gelding set a new class-record clocking 1.19.48s in the National Apprentice Cup (1350m).
Hopfgarten was a $26,000 buy for Heathcote at the 2012 Magic Millions National yearling sale. He was bred by Brian Purtle who owns Enterprise Stud at Beaudesert and his son Dr Ben Purtle who runs a veterinary practice on the Gold Coast.
They bred him from Black Tourmaline (O’Reilly) and the mare also has a yearling colt by Vinery sire Excites that will be catalogued for the Magic Millions National Sale in June.
The Purtles have a share in Mossman and bred his brilliant filly Our Sweet Moss who won five stakes races in Sydney and Brisbane topped by a Group 2 in the 2004 AJC Silver Shadow Stakes.
Mossman has sired 61 individual winners from his base at Vinery this season and he is a Top 10 sire with earnings of $4.40 million. That figure is due to rise exponentially with Buffering and his unbeaten filly Mossfun gearing up for lucrative autumn campaigns.
– Karl Patterson