Robert Heathcote will once again lead the Queensland charge into the Melbourne spring carnival and the 2011 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes is a race at the top of his list.
Heathcote has two star performers at his disposal over the spring, both Woorim and Buffering having proven they can mix it with the best at Group 1 level.
For the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes though it will be left to Woorim to get the job done, Heathcote feeling he’s better suited to run out the 1400m.
Woorim has been back in training for around a month with a couple of weeks still to go until he’s back to race fitness.
He’ll run first up at Doomben in a 1000m race on August 27.
Following that he’ll join Buffering on a flight in the first week of September to get done to Heathcote’s Flemington base.
Buffering will have his first up run once in Melbourne when he contests the Group 2 Ian McEwen Trophy on September 10th.
Woorim will have a bit of a break before he has a shot at winning his first Group 1 when the Sir Rupert Clarke stakes jumps on September 24.
“Woorim will have his first start here on August 27 then will fly to Melbourne with Buffering,” Heathcote said.
“His second run will be in the Sir Rupert Clarke, the same race he finished third behind Response last year.”
Heathcote says both horses have done extremely well during their spell and he’s confident of making his mark in Melbourne over the spring.
“I’ve been given approval to stable my team at Flemington and there’ll be a few others go down to join them later on,” Heathcote said.
“Buffering has been in work for three weeks. He had four weeks in the paddock after the winter and he’s done brilliantly.
“Unfortunately, I probably won’t have enough time to give him a barrier trial here before he goes away.”
Buffering will also have his chance at Group 1 glory however 1400m is probably a bit beyond him, that means he’ll contest the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley instead.
“I’m not sure what he’ll run in after the Manikato Stakes,” Heathcote said.
“But I’ll be avoiding Black Caviar at all costs right throughout the spring.”
Both horses bring a good deal of momentum with them into the Melbourne spring with solid results during the Brisbane winter carnival.
Buffering won the Group 2 Victory Stakes before clashing with the superstars of Black Caviar and Hay List in the BTC Cup and finishing in third.
His campaign then looked shot next start when he came home last to Beaded in the Doomben 10,000.
To his credit though he rallied and two fourth placings in the Stradbroke Handicap and the Healy Stakes leave him in good stead for a solid spring.
Woorim meanwhile could be a real force in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes if he shows his best form.
His win in the BRC Sprint was one of the best of the carnival when he flew home in the final 200m to steal an unbelievable victory.
He couldn’t repeat the performance when finishing seventh in the Stradbroke but his next start on the Sunshine Coast saw him back to his best as he demolished the Listed Glasshouse Handicap field.
Damian Browne is tipped to continue his prosperous association with the Heathcote stable and will partner both Buffering and Woorim across the Melbourne carnival.
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