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Buffering aiming for Victory hat-trick
Stephen Rodgers
16:42 AEST Wed Apr 24 2013

Relaxed and refreshed.

That's how trainer Robert Heathcote describes Buffering in the build-up to his return to racing in Saturday's Group Two Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben.

"I've got a healthy, happy horse," Heathcote said.

"He looks well, he's carrying more condition than he's ever carried in his life and he's got a lovely coat."

The five-year-old hasn't raced since finishing eighth to Mental in the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington in November last year but Heathcote says the extended break has been beneficial.

"Bypassing the Melbourne and Sydney autumn carnivals gives him the chance to extend the longevity of his career," he said.

"We're basically starting chapter two of his racing life."

It's been a quick turnaround in the health fortunes for Buffering who was ruled out of a TJ Smith Stakes start earlier this month with a hoof abscess.

"It wasn't a major thing but the timing of it was just frustrating," Heathcote said.

Buffering has an imposing first-up record which Heathcote is confident he can maintain on Saturday.

"He's won first up on three out of four occasions and the only time he was beaten was when he ran third to Black Caviar and Hay List in the Lightning last year," he said.

"The beauty of having Buffering in a race like this is his proven record at weight-for-age."

Heathcote expects Buffering (Damian Browne) will lead in the Victory against only six rivals.

"He'll lead unless somebody has some outrageous plan to take us on but Damian Browne's a good enough judge of tempo as anyone going around," he said.

Browne rode Buffering when the gelding worked with his stablemate Bribie over 1000 metres on the Doomben course proper on Tuesday morning.

"Damian got off his back grinning from ear to ear because of the feeling Buffering gave him in that gallop," Heathcote said.

While he believes Buffering can win the Victory Stakes for the third year in a row, Heathcote has a healthy respect for Ready To Rip.

"We've got a victory over him on the board but I've got a huge respect for anything that Peter Moody trains," he said.