Lankan Rupee’s Newmarket Handicap win has many touting him as the country’s best sprinter but Buffering’s trainer Robert Heathcote is convinced the Queensland star can confirm his claims this autumn.
The winner of three Group One races in the spring, Buffering returns in Saturday’s Group Two Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Randwick, his first visit to Sydney in more than three years.
Until last spring, Buffering spent most of his career playing second fiddle to the now retired Black Caviar and Hay List in Group One races but came into his own with wins in the Manikato Stakes and VRC Sprint in Melbourne before travelling to Perth for the Winterbottom Stakes.
“He will have his final gallop on Tuesday and travel to Sydney later in the week,” Heathcote said.
“On what he’s shown me, I think he’s as good as ever.
“He will run in the Challenge and then the TJ Smith, then come back to Brisbane and have two or maybe three runs before we go back to Melbourne in the spring ahead of a trip to Hong Kong for the Sprint there in December.
“He seems to race best when his races are spaced and that’s how it will be for the rest of his career.”
Among his rivals on Saturday is Snitzerland who fulfilled her Group One destiny in last month’s Lightning Stakes.
After an interrupted spring campaign, the mare was given one run in a Listed sprint at the end of the carnival and was beaten a nose by Lankan Rupee.
“It is going to be a good race on Saturday but she needs to run,” Ryan said.
“I don’t think I could hold her on the ground for another week.
“The barrier draw will be important but I don’t see her getting into a speed battle with Buffering up front.”
Bel Sprinter and Temple Of Boom, the past two winners of the Group One Galaxy, are among the 11 Challenge entries along with Rain Affair who is also nominated for the Canterbury Stakes (1300m).
Like Buffering, Lankan Rupee is expected to run in the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes on April 12 but a decision on where Snitzerland heads will not be made until after the Challenge.
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