Trainer Robert Heathcote has got some good news after returning from a short holiday with his spring carnival hopefuls Buffering and Hopfgarten back in work.
Heathcote was in Darwin for the Cup carnival and on his return on Wednesday went straight to see Group One star Buffering at his Eagle Farm stable.
Buffering was injured during the Chairman’s Sprint Prize in Hong Kong in May and there had been some doubts about his racing future.
But Heathcote is growing in confidence he will be right for another spring-summer campaign.
“Buff got back last week and he looks sound and well at this stage,” Heathcote said.
“As I keep saying with older horses you take it one day at a time but at the moment I am looking to the spring with him.”
Buffering is likely to attempt to win his fourth Moir Stakes in Melbourne and then contest either the Winterbotton Stakes in Perth or the Magic Millions QTIS race at the Gold Coast.
Hopfgarten, a stakes winner twice during the winter, will be Heathcote’s only other southern visitor at this stage.
“There are some nice races for him in both Sydney and Melbourne. Unfortunately, he is weighted out of Brisbane racing and there is nothing here for him,” Heathcote said.
Buffering is favourite to win his fifth Queensland Horse of the Year title to be announced next month but Heathcote is involved in a far tougher battle for Trainer of the Year.
Heathcote, Tony Gollan, Bryan Guy and Kelly Schweida, who have all been nominated, have strong claims for the title.