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Buffalo River will commence a campaign aimed at the Brisbane Winter Carnival in a stakes race at Sandown

The Listed Anniversary Stakes (1400m) on Saturday will be Buffalo River’s first-up assignment with the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June the long-term aim.

Trainer Mike Moroney said Buffalo River was well-primed for his first-up tilt on Saturday and added the expected rain would be a bonus.

“He performs on both sorts of tracks, but if it does rain, it puts a few others out,” Moroney said.

“The 1400 metres, I suppose, has to be a question mark first-up, but he’s well and looks terrific.”

Jordan Childs, who rode Buffalo River at his last start in the Cranbourne Cup on a bottomless track last November, is booked to ride the gelding on Saturday.

However, Damien Oliver has ridden the gelding in his two jump-outs to prepare for Saturday’s return.

“Ollie thought he was pretty ready to return after his second jump-out, in fact he told me he was over-ready,” Moroney said.

“The jump-out before, we ended up with a riderless horse in the heat and it chased him all-the-way.

“Unfortunately, it made him keep going and he couldn’t stop, so it was a pretty hard one first time out.”

After trying to get Buffalo River to 2000m, Moroney said the gelding would be kept to shorter trips this campaign.

A winner of seven races, Buffalo River has won six times over Saturday’s journey, which is also the distance of the Stradbroke Handicap.

“He’s done a good job for the owners, and he should be at his best now,” Moroney said.

“The mile now is probably as far as we will go with him now as he just hasn’t learned to relax enough.”

Buffalo River opened second favourite at $4.40 with TAB for Saturday’s race behind last start Caulfield winner Regardsmaree ($4) with Excelida ($5) the third pick.

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