Trainer Robert Heathcote has kept faith with Buffering for Saturday’s Group One Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington but bookmakers have taken a more conservative view.
Buffering’s quest for an elusive Group One success suffered a setback at Moonee Valley on October 26 when he finished sixth to Sea Siren as $2.60 favourite when ridden by Hugh Bowman.
The gelding was a dominant pre-post favourite for the Classic before the Manikato but since his defeat in that race he has drifted to $5.50 with TAB fixed odds while fellow Queenslander Spirit Of Boom has firmed from $21 into $14 after his unlucky second to Fontelina in the Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) on Saturday.
Heathcote attended trackwork at Flemington on Saturday morning to watch Buffering gallop with stablemate Excellantes and left convinced the five-year-old was primed to regain top form in the Classic.
“The Manikato was a disappointing result but I’m confident he can bounce back at Flemington,” he said.
“I think Hugh might have erred by trying to hold him up in the lead but it didn’t suit Buffering because he was changing stride several times and clearly resented being restrained.
“On Saturday Hugh will be given firm instructions to let him run.
“In the Newmarket during the autumn he reeled off some brilliant sectionals when he ran along in the lead and it took a horse like Hay List the length of the straight to run him down in the last stride.”
Heathcote is also tipping Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn will be better suited on the roomier Flemington track than at Moonee Valley where he finished an unlucky third to Silent Achiever in the Crystal Mile (1600m).
“He got shuffled back at a vital stage but he was flying home at the finish and there’s no doubt in my mind Flemington will suit him better,” he said.
“The Emirates has always been his goal in Melbourne.”
Michael Rodd will ride Excellantes for Heathcote in the MSS Security Sprint (1200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.