Leading trainer Robert Heathcote declared outstanding sprinter Buffering on target for his forthcoming Melbourne campaign after an impressive exhibition gallop at Doomben on Saturday.
Ridden by Ryan Wiggins, Buffering worked on the inside of stablemate Excellantes, ridden by Glen Colless, when they were paired in a 1000m gallop between races.
Quickening from the 600m, Buffering was held together by Wiggins and kept a slender advantage over Excellantes when they passed the winning post.
"I've got him exactly where I want him to be," Heathcote declared as Buffering returned to the enclosure.
"It's exactly a month until he has first run in Melbourne in the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield and I can just back off him for the next week. That was a lovely piece of work."
Buffering, who last week was crowned Queensland Horse Of The Year for the 2011-12 season, worked without blinkers but Heathcote said the gelding would carry the "shades" when he resumes in the Schillaci.
Leading jockey Hugh Bowman will be offered the ride on Buffering in the Schillaci, after partnering the gelding at his past two starts when runner-up in the Group One Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap during the winter carnival.
Buffering and Excellantes will be joined by stablemate Solzhenitsyn when they fly to Melbourne on September 25 for their spring campaigns.
James McDonald has been offered the ride on Excellantes when he resumes in the Group Two Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 6 and Solzhenitsyn in the Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 30.
McDonald's availability to ride the Heathcote runners will depend on the outcome of his appeal this week against a suspension for weighing in light when Charge Account finished third at Canterbury on September 5.