Recording his sixth career Group 1 victory when adding a second Winterbottom Stakes to his resume, the connections of Buffering are now considering an international campaign for their war horse.
Having broken the race record set by Ortensia in 2011, it is only fitting that Buffering will follow in the footsteps of the Group 1–winning mare and travel overseas in an effort to raid further riches in possibly Dubai and Europe.
One of two runners from the eastern states to head to Western Australian for their richest sprint, the Robert Heathcote-trained eight-year-old jumped straight to the lead where jockey Damien Browne controlled the race before holding off all challengers to take his overall record to 18 wins and 17 placings from 50 starts with over $5.8 million in earnings.
While he was a classy juvenile himself, winning his first four starts before third in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes behind eventual Group 1 winners Pressday and Spirit Of Boom, it was as six-year-old that the son of Vinery Stud’s Mossman really came into his own.
Capturing his first at the elite level in the Manikato Stakes defeating Dubawi’s international Group 1 winner Lucky Nine, that victory was to be the first of a hat trick of Group 1 wins that campaign culminating in his first Winterbottom success.
In the spring of the following season, Buffering resumed with a hard fought win over Lankan Rupee and Rebel Dane in the Group 1 Moir Stakes.
Although winless for the remainder of that campaign and with injury keeping him away from the track until the following spring, Buffering resumed with another victory in the Moir taking his tally to five, before Saturday’s Winterbottom Stakes became his sixth Group 1 victory.
A graduate of Racetree’s draft at the 2009 Magic Millions March Yearling Sale where secured by agent Paul Willetts for $22,000, surprisingly Buffering has never targeted any races on the Magic Millions race day in January, but will in 2016.
Trainer Rob Heathcote said the eight-year-old was in career best form and provided he kept racing so well he could see no reason why a trip overseas wouldn’t be on the cards following January’s feature in what would in fact be his first ever start at the Gold Coast.
“We’ll go home now. He floats home on Monday. There’s a Magic Millions race in early January that he’s going to be damned hard to beat.”
A recent phone call from officials in Dubai with an invitation to attend their lucrative World Cup Carnival and a tilt at their feature sprint has Heathcote planning a possible international campaign.
“It is something I hadn’t even told some of the owners,” he said. “The world is Buff’s oyster. He’s eight years old – he’s won two Group Ones this prep.”
“If he comes through that (the Gold Coast) in good order and he’s a good traveller I’d love to go over and shake hands with the Sheikh.”
A Senior Handicapper and Sprint Handicapper at Racing Victoria for the 11 years before moving to Dubai to take up the role of Assistant Handicapper Thoroughbreds, Neil Jennings has high hopes for Buffering if he travels next year.
“To have a horse perform at the highest level season after season and consistently rate 115 or higher internationally should not go unnoticed.”
“He has raced against the cream of Australian sprinting stars none bigger than undefeated champion Black Caviar and in my view at his peak the second best sprinter in the world, the highly talented but injury plagued Hay List.
“With the likelihood that Buffering will be looking to emulate the feats of Ortensia by winning the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night before a trip to Royal Ascot, I have no doubt he will be a major player in Dubai and one thing is for certain he will do Australia proud on the world stage.”
“To have a six time Group 1 winner compete on World Cup night will be a major drawcard for racing in the UAE on its biggest night, as each year we continue to see the carnival go from strength to strength.”
If successful in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, Buffering will join fellow Australian-breds Amber Sky (2013) and Ortensia (2011) as recent winners of Dubai’s premier sprint race.
Image: Magic Millions Press Release