fought bravely for a determined nose win over Moment Of Change
in the Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (Aus-I) Nov. 23 at Ascot Racecourse in Perth, adding a third successive top-level victory to his record.
The 6-year-old Mossman gelding took charge entering the straight but showed signs of tiring late after battling in the early stages with last year's winner Barakey, allowing Moment Of Change to get his head in front before Buffering gamely battled back under Damien Browne and thrust out his nose on line.
Trainer Robert Heathcote had to wait out a decision on the photo finish along with trainer Peter Moody, whose group I winner Moment Of Change finished third to Buffering in the VRC Sprint Classic (Aus-I) Nov. 9 at Flemington.
The 2-1 favorite, Buffering prevailed in 1:10.32 for 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) on a track rated good, earning his 15th win from 38 career starts while stamping himself as Australia's top sprinter. He placed second or third in 10 group I races before his elite-level breakthrough in the Manikato Stakes (Aus-I) Oct. 25 at Moonee Valley, and followed with the Sprint Classic.
Locally based Watermans Bay finished third at odds of 41-1, 1 1/2 lengths behind 2-1 second favorite Moment Of Change. Barakey faded out of contention on the turn and finished ninth.
Also on the card, Luckygray sprung a 20-1 upset in a dazzling return to form in winning the Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (Aus-I) for a second time.
The 6-year-old Bradbury's Luck gelding, awarded the win in the 2011 edition of the 1,600-meter (about one-mile) race—and runner-up last year—halted a seven-race winless drought dating from his victory in the Kingston Town Classic (Aus-I) last December.
Shaun O'Donnell had Luckygray ideally positioned well behind a swift early pace. Buffering's stablemate Fire Up Fifi and Platinum Rocker battled in the final 200 meters, but Luckygray rallied strongly when called up to power past in the closing strides.
Platinum Rocker finished a half-length back in second, and Fire Up Fifi finished third, another half-length behind. Smokin' Joey, the 4-1 favorite, finished last in the 15-horse field.
Improving his record to 13 wins from 26 career starts, Luckygray was timed in 1:36.75. He is trained by Trevor Andrews for a partnership.