Heathcote wants win out west with Buffering
QUEENSLAND sprint star Buffering is heading back west for another crack at the Winterbottom Stakes on November 21.
Trainer Robert Heathcote said the five-time Group 1 winner, who finished fourth in the Darley Classic at Flemington on Saturday, was always going to have another crack at Western Australia's premier race for sprinters which he won in 2013.
"It always has been on the agenda," Heathcote told Racing.com's Racing Ahead.
"After that race on Saturday you could argue that 'Buff's' probably is in as good a form as he's been in the past couple of years.
"I believe the flight is leaving next Sunday. He'll do a little bit of faster work on the Saturday and a little bit of lighter work on Tuesday when he gets to Ascot.
"I've got a fit, healthy and happy race horse and we'll keep him that way until the race."
Heathcote said he was happy with Buffering's effort at Flemington, despite being overrun late by Delectation, Chautauqua and Terravista to finish fourth.
"It was a super effort - I thought Damian (Browne) rode a tactically brilliant race," he said.
"Inside the 100m we were still in front and he just wilted that last 70m.
"But to go down a short-head, a short-head and a long-neck to certainly the best two sprinters in the world and now Delectation puts his hand up.
"It was a master training performance from Chris (Waller) to bring arguably a 1400m, a miler to win up the straight."
Meanwhile, Buffering's sprint rival, Chautauqua, looks likely to head in the other direction, with Hong Kong the likely destination next month for the Hong Kong Sprint on December 13.
Trainer Wayne Hawkes said despite Chautauqua finishing second in the Darley Stakes for the second year running, it was a "70-30" chance in favour of the two-time Group 1 winner travelling.
"It still is (the plan to travel), but, to be fair, even if he had won and won by two lengths, we'd still be in the same situation we're in right now," Hawkes told Racing Ahead.
"That is, we need to see how he pulls up to go forward because it's even a bigger call and a whole different ball game going to Hong Kong, because you struggle to have a spell when you get back.
"If you make somewhere like the TJ Smith (Stakes) again, you're only just getting there in the nick of time.
"It's easy going across to Flemington and Moonee Valley and Sydney. He's got to travel and acclimatise and get on a plane, which he's never done."