Sepoy may be the best three-year-old in the country but trainer Rob Heathcote still hopes to find a chink in the star colt’s armour in the Group Two Caulfield Sprint on Saturday.
Heathcote will take on Sepoy for a second time with Queensland sprinter Buffering who finished a gallant fourth to the Peter Snowden-trained budding champion in the Group One Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley last month.
Buffering raced without blinkers and matched strides in front with Sepoy until the Sydneysider exploded away at the top of the straight for a commanding win.
Heathcote is perplexed by the weight scale for the 1100-metre Caulfield Sprint in which Buffering, with equal topweight of 58 kilograms, will concede 2.5kg to Sepoy.
“I’m not over the moon about the weights,” Heathcote said.
“It’s a handicap and Sepoy has a rating of 117 to Buffering’s 109 which is eight points, yet we’re giving away weight to him.
“The handicapper says it’s because of the weight-for-age scale but it’s still a handicap and Sepoy is thrown in at the weights.
“I just don’t understand it. How can Sepoy get in with only 55.5 kilograms in a handicap race when he’s won nearly $3.5 million and three Group Ones.”
Despite the statistics stacked against Buffering, Heathcote won’t die wondering about trying to find a way of beating Sepoy.
“I heard Peter Snowden say after Helmet won the Caulfield Guineas that Sepoy was the best three-year-old in Australia yet we’ve got to give him weight after he gave us a flogging in the Manikato,” he said.
“A few people questioned our tactics on Buffering in the Manikato but it was my instructions to Damian Browne to serve it up to Sepoy.
“Around Moonee Valley the only way we thought we could beat Sepoy was to serve it up to him from the start.
“Sepoy showed to everyone he’s a champion but Buffering will go forward again but not with the same aggression as in the Manikato.”
Buffering will stay on in Melbourne after his Caulfield assignment for the Group Two Salinger Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby day.
Heathcote will also saddle up Trump in Saturday’s Group Three Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m).
Trump made a disappointing Melbourne debut when seventh to Isopach in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on October 2.
The three-year-old was a controversial third as odds-on favourite at his previous start at Doomben last month.
“There has to be a question whether he’ll run the trip,” Heathcote said.
“In his first run in Melbourne he suffered severe interference before the home turn and then became unbalanced.
“I’ve been happy with his work since then.”