Multiple Group One placegetter Buffering is the early favourite to finally claim a major race win, opening at $5 for the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley later this month despite concerns over his immediate preparation.
Queensland's Horse of the Year, Buffering has spent much of the past 18 months in the shadow of Black Caviar and Hay List but both star sprinters will miss the spring, paving the way for him to fulfil his Group One destiny.
He opened favourite with TAB for the sprint which will be run under lights for the first time on October 26.
However, trainer Rob Heathcote said Buffering had not coped too well with inoculations for a possible trip to Hong Kong in December, putting the Schillaci Stakes on Saturday week in doubt.
Bel Sprinter ($6) is the Manikato second elect ahead of a group on $9 which includes Sea Siren, the winner of two Group One races at the Brisbane winter carnival, one of them the Doomben 10,000 in which she beat Buffering by a short neck.
The John O'Shea-trained Sea Siren was given a solid hitout in a barrier trial at Randwick with race jockey Jim Cassidy aboard on Tuesday morning, finishing second to Cabernet.
"We're very happy with her and she goes first-up into the Manikato," O'Shea said.
Buffering showed he was on target for the spring with his fighting win in last Friday night's Group Two Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley while Bel Sprinter made a winning return in the Group Three McEwan Stakes, also at the Valley.
Plagued by barrier issues and niggling injuries, the lightly-raced Bel Sprinter gave trainer Jason Warren cause for optimism with his professional display.
Rain Affair also pleased his trainer Joe Pride with his barrier trial win on Friday to put his spring back on track after his first-up fourth in the Concorde Stakes.
The gelding is also a $9 chance for the Manikato as he chases his first Group One win.
Buffering is also favourite for the Patinack Farm Classic on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.
It's A Dundeel is the early favourite for the Victoria Derby while Dear Demi heads the market for the Oaks.
The two can cement their positions when they run for Group One honours at Randwick on Saturday with the unbeaten It's A Dundeel to contest the Spring Champion Stakes and Dear Demi the Flight Stakes.