A minor back ailment has prompted trainer Rob Heathcote to change course in Melbourne with Buffering who is now set to clash with wonder mare Black Caviar in the Group One Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington on Saturday week.
Buffering was due to run in Saturday’s Group Two Salinger Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight until Heathcote discovered the four-year-old was suffering from the back problem.
Heathcote sensed all was not well with Buffering following the gelding’s fading sixth to Sepoy in the Group Two Caulfield Sprint (1110m) last start.
“I wasn’t happy with his Caulfield run. He ran well below his best,” Heathcote said,
“I got the vet to check him over but he couldn’t find anything amiss so I called in a chiropractor who found his back was out.
“It wasn’t too bad and he’s fine now but we’re going to miss Saturday’s Salinger and take on Black Caviar in the Patinack Farm.”
Heathcote doesn’t expect any shock result from Buffering against Black Caviar but has 180,000 reasons to take on the world’s best sprinter.
“Second prize is worth $180,000 and it’s weight-for-age which I think suits Buffering better than the handicaps,” he said.
“It also will be three weeks between runs which is more to his liking.”
Heathcote hasn’t yet booked a rider for Buffering in the Patinack Farm but is hopeful leading Sydney rider Nash Rawiller will take up an offer to ride the son of Mossman.
“Nash rode him in work at Flemington today and he came home his last 400 metres in 21.1 seconds which is fantastic work,” Heathcote said.
“I took the blinkers off Buffering last time but they’ll go back on for the Patinack.”
Rawiller has ridden Buffering once for a victory in the Group Two Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in October last year.
Meanwhile, Michael Rodd will replace Damian Browne on Woorim in Saturday’s Tab.com.au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
“Damian has been flying down from Brisbane every time to ride him but he’s been missing some good rides in Brisbane so he’s decided to ride at Doomben on Saturday,” Heathcote said.
Woorim scored a brilliant win over 1400 metres at Moonee Valley last month but has failed to replicate that form in three subsequent starts including his last-start sixth to King Mufhasa in the Group One Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on October 8.
“The Toorak was his third run in three weeks and it took its toll on him,” Heathcote said.
“His Toorak run was disappointing but we’re happy to drop back to 1400 metres this week on the bigger Flemington track and if he runs well he’ll run next in the Emirates.”
The Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m) will be run at Flemington on Saturday week.