Chautauqua is a short-priced favourite in the Group One Manikato Stakes but Buffering’s trainer Robert Heathcote has nominated Srikandi as the horse to beat.
Eight-year-old Buffering will be chasing his second Manikato Stakes win, two years after breaking through for his first Group One win in the race.
The star Queensland sprinter has since won five Group Ones and his opposition in Friday night’s 1200m race also includes Terravista and Srikandi in the field of 10.
Heathcote can’t fault his stable star which returned from an injury lay-off to win the Moir Stakes.
Chautauqua won in arrogant fashion in the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley earlier this campaign but Heathcote would rather take him on at Moonee Valley than Flemington.
“Chautauqua on the bigger track at Flemington, I think he’s certainly the testing material. But Srikandi, maybe you haven’t seen the best of her here (in Melbourne) but we’ve seen the best of her in Queensland winning the Stradbroke and Tatt’s Tiara,” Heathcote said.
“She’s a superstar up home, and in my opinion I think she’ll be the one to beat over Chautauqua.
“Even though Chautauqua won here at the Valley, and he was impressive in doing so, this is a different level of sprinters.”
Srikandi is trained in Melbourne by Ciaron Maher but the mare has been prominent in the past two Queensland winter carnivals including winning two Group Ones this year.
Heathcote was relieved to see Buffering make a winning return in the Moir.
“Going into the Moir I was anxious but now I’m excited because he’s seemingly back to somewhere near his best,” Heathcote said.
Heathcote is confident Buffering will run well again on Friday night and will adopt his usual tactics.
“With Buffering there is no secret. We get out and we go hard and we see how we go,” the trainer said.
Buffering came up with barrier seven at Tuesday’s draw while Chautauqua and Terravista) have inside draws and Srikandi has gate 10.