An appearance in the 2015 BTC Cup (1200m) may not figure for Buffering after trainer Robert Heathcote revealed the four-time Group 1 winner has suffered a sprain in his off fore fetlock.
Arguably Queensland’s most talented racehorse over recent years, Buffering has not been seen at the races since running on for a credible sixth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 14th, in what figured as his maiden appearance outside Australia.
Understandably disappointed by the prospect of a career-ending injury sustained by the veteran sprinter, Heathcote told AAP he remains hopeful the strain is not found to be too bad after swelling dissipates.
“I still have some hope that he will be ready for the BTC Cup on May 9 and then the Doomben 10,000 two weeks later,” Heathcote said.
“I may be hopeful but we can’t take chances with him. Any doubt at all and he won’t be running this winter.
“It is a sprain and he will have intensive work done on him with anti-inflammatory treatment, ice, water walking, and visits to the beach.
“After two weeks we should have the swelling down and hopefully be able to assess if there is any further damage to his leg.
“He is a multiple Group One winner and one of the major winter carnival drawcards.
“But these things happen all the time to horses and what is done is done and we can’t take anything back.”
Undoubtedly finding career-best form over the 2013 Spring Carnival, Buffering finished second in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) first-up before completing an impressive run of victories in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) and Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
Returning in spring and winter for third place finishes in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m), BTC Cup and Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m), the Mossman gelding returned to the winner’s circle in the most recent edition of the Moir Stakes before posting several other commendable results through spring, including fourth behind the world’s three best sprinters in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8th.
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