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Damian Browne riding Buffering (r)

Buffering (right): trainer considering options in Hong Kong

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Buffering bags Sprint
for delighted Heathcote

Report: Australia, Saturday

Flemington: VRC Sprint Classic (Group 1) 6f, turf

THE WAIT for Buffering's first Group 1 triumph seemed like it would never end, but eventually it did, and the second came immediately after the first as the popular and still improving speedster made all the running to take the Spring Carnival's biggest sprint.

Trainer Robert Heathcote was justifiably ecstatic after seeing his trailblazer blitz quality opposition under jockey Damian Browne, just as he had when leading all the way in Moonee Valley's Manikato Stakes 15 days earlier.

That success ended Buffering's ten-race Group 1 drought and he now looks set to be hard to beat in future showpiece dashes after showing far too much toe for a chasing pack that at the line was headed by Shamexpress (Danny O'Brien/Damien Oliver) and Moment Of Change (Peter Moody/Luke Nolen). 

Hong Kong raider Lucky Nine (Caspar Fownes/Brett Prebble), sent off a well-backed favourite, was beaten a long way out and finished sixth.

"Two runs ago he was the bridesmaid. Now he's won two Group 1s and knocked off the best in the world," said Heathcote.

"There were probably a few questions to be answered after the Manikato. A few horses had tales of woe and some people thought he was lucky.

"Today he started to put the pressure on them at the 400-metre pole and that's when I started to smile. There was no luck in that today. It was pure guts, determination and ability. He put the pressure on and he was too good.

"He gives us 100 per cent every time and I suppose he now goes into that bracket of being one of the best sprinters in the world. Okay, Black Caviar kicked him in the arse a few times but she's not around now. My bloke is."

The chance of Heathcote's bloke turning up at Royal Ascot are seemingly slim, despite the venue's head of international racing, Nick Smith, having attempted to woo the six-year-old's trainer.

Heathcote added: "It's a question that was put to me the other day but I threw it in the too hard basket. 

"He's a gelding and there may be other more attractive races for us. The Hong Kong option is maybe more attractive."

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