Buffering (9) has been one of the most popular horses in Australia
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully in Melbourne 11:34AM 22 OCT 2016
IT WAS hard not to feel a little emotional as Robert Heathcote announced the retirement of the mighty Buffering in the wake of Friday night’s Manikato Stakes.
The nine-year-old is a warhorse of scarcely believable proportions. He contested a whopping 35 Group 1 races across his 48-race career, bumping into greats like Sepoy, Hay List and a mare called Black Caviar.
Those star names being on the scene meant it took Buffering until the 18th attempt, in the 2013 Manikato Stakes, to make the breakthrough at the highest level. Eventually, he bagged seven of them, including Dubai’s Al Quoz Sprint.
Remarkably, in all that time mixing it with the best of the best, Buff only failed to hit the first four ten times and brought in prize money in excess of AUS$ 7 million, having been picked up as a yearling for a mere AUS$ 22,000.
His running style, going all guns blazing from the front, was a joy to behold, winning him the heart of every racing fan in Australia and his retirement is also poignant as it ushers ever closer the end of a golden era.
With Buffering gone, fellow nine-year-old General Truce is now the only horse left in training in Australia to have raced against Black Caviar. As coincidence would have it, General Truce stepped out at Moonee Valley on Saturday, finishing a creditable fourth in the day’s second race.
So farewell, Buff. Here’s to a long and happy retirement.
A jockey’s sacrifice
We are all aware of the things jockeys put their bodies through in order to provide us with our entertainment but today, I ask you to spare a thought for Dean Yendall.
Due to the weight allowance afforded to three-year-old filly Yankee Rose, Yendall had to waste down to ride at 47.5kg (7st7lb) and earlier in the week, he told racing.com’s Brent Zerafa about the strict regime undertaken to get there.
“I’ve just been eating really healthy, as healthy as can be,” he explained. “A lot of fruit and veg, lean meats, chicken, a little bit of fish.
“I’m off the chocolate, off the chips, off the McDonald’s and KFC. I’ve got to pack my own lunch and my own tea for on the way home from the races and there’s no pulling into any services, unless it’s to get petrol.”
Only a certain few can lay claim to such mental fortitude.
One to watch
With the Cox Plate Carnival done and dusted, the focus switches to Flemington, which next Saturday has the potential to host one of the races of the spring.
The Coolmore Stud Stakes will carry no European interest, so could well be overlooked but it would pay to take a look at it if the hype surrounding one runner in particular is justified.
A three-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, Astern is already a Group 1 winner having claimed Sydney’s Golden Rose Stakes last month.
The Sydney-based reporters who have headed to Melbourne could not be more bullish about the Godolphin-owned colt, who could even be an outside chance to head to Royal Ascot next year.