Queensland star Buffering has made a triumphant return to racing with a record third Moir Stakes win to take his prize money past $5 million.
Having his first start since December, the eight-year-old showed he had lost none of his speed or renowned toughness as he upstaged his younger rivals to win Friday night’s Moir at Moonee Valley and record his fifth Group One victory.
Buffering, who missed the autumn and winter with a ligament injury, joined Black Caviar and Takeover Target as the only Australian sprinters to have earned $5 million.
“That’s pretty awesome stuff,” Buffering’s excited and proud trainer Robert Heathcote said.
“Even the money aside, you can’t dream of having a horse like this. That’s six spring carnivals now, and what a wonderful ride it’s been.”
Damian Browne drove Buffering to the lead with three-year-old filly Fontiton on his outside while unbeaten filly Petits Filous took a sit behind the leading pair with Ball Of Muscle fourth on the rails.
Coming to the home turn Buffering ($7) kept his rivals under pressure and fought off Fontiton at the top of the straight.
He kept finding another gear to defeat Ball Of Muscle by a long neck with a head to the fast-finishing Angelic Light.
The boom was lowered on $2.40 favourite and previously unbeaten Petits Filous who weakened to finish 10th.
“The Manikato (Buffering’s first Group One win in 2013) will forever live in my heart as the biggest achievement I’ve fulfilled in racing,” Heathcote said.
“But to come back after such an injury and such a long lay-off, nine months, and beat such a quality field of sprinters is wonderful.”
“And he did it at both ends. He worked hard and was strong at the finish.”
“Damian knows this horse better than anybody and the horse showed his customary fight and tenacity and kicked on the corner and was too tough.”
Browne has ridden Buffering to all five of his top-level wins and said his fighting qualities set him apart.
“He’s such a trooper – a true Queenslander,” he said.
“He knows what to do and he was too tough for them.
“He’s a true champion. The toughest horse I have ever ridden.”
Jockey Glyn Schofield said Ball Of Muscle was brave in his first Group One start while Angelic Light’s trainer Robbie Griffiths felt his mare was unlucky, saying Headwater didn’t take the corner well in front of her and forced her a wider before she closed strongly.