If recent form is any indication, Buffalo River is enjoying his racing and trainer Mike Moroney believes he is well in the hunt for an elusive win at the highest level in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Having won two of his latest three outings, the most recent in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) over the same course and distance on October 21, Moroney says that his charge can figure in the finish in the newly scheduled Group 1 $1 million feature now run a month later than its traditional timing.
“He’s going to be well-weighted with 53.5-kilos but he is Group 1-placed though we know they are always a big step up,” Moroney said.
Buffalo River will contest the Rupert Clarke Stakes for the third year running. A fifth place on a heavy track in 2022 was preceded by a tenth placing on a good surface in 2021.
In with 53-kilos this time, and set to jump from barrier 19 before scratchings from the 1400-metre chute, the renowned leader’s previous Rupert Clark efforts delivered the fastest sectionals between the 800 and 200 metres marks in each time.
A review of training tactics has delivered the positive change in horse’s racing demeanour.
“He was overworking himself on the track and no matter where and when you went to gallop him he would just go”, Moroney added.
“The boy that rode him in work all the way through, he got too much for him in the finish.
“I think he was overworking himself and now that we’ve got the treadmill we can control that work.”
Celine Gaudray takes the ride again for the fourth-straight run and will have the challenge of having Buffalo River negate the wider draw and settling thereafter.
“I think she’s been a big help,” he said.
“He’s been ridden to instructions which has been good and I’ve always been a believer that he is a free-running horse and if he can just get to a couple of furlongs before he gets to his top, that is the key.
“If he then relaxes for a furlong it really puts him into the race.”
Moroney believes the race’s new date has been a positive move.
“I think it is in a good spot. I think it will be a strong race,” he said.
“I can see it working.”
Buffalo River is rated a $21 chance across markets with online bookmakers while Magic Time is the $3.70 favourite.