Story and Photos courtesy of Graham Potter and www.horseracingonly.com.au
By Robert Heathcote | Thursday, November 10, 2011
Robert Heathcote is the leading racehorse trainer in Brisbane. 'Rob's Shout' - the personal blog of the multi-premiership winning trainer will appear every Thursday on HRO.
I knew when I made my way down that famous rose walk-way with the saddle for Buffering that I was in for something special. That was always going to be the case as we knew we were up against the best sprinting mare in the world!
Black Caviar certainly did not let the nation down, but I can tell you that I was immensely proud of my horse Buffering’s effort to win the race within a race. It was always my plan to race for second in the Group 1 Patinack and after the race we have 180,000 reasons to celebrate his excellent run.
I will never in any way denigrate the quality of the great mares run as she was again dominant in her 16th race win. She ran 1.08.3 for the 1200m and she looked like she was eased down and simply having a track gallop!
Buffering officially clocked in at 1.08.80 which appeared pedestrian against the wonder mare, but I can assure you that it was a run that would have won eight out of ten group races up the famous straight six … and that includes the Group 1’s!
His run never even rated a mention in the media, but the connections of the ‘Buff’ didn’t care. History will show that Buffering, who has now won 1.1 million bucks by the way, got within three lengths of the greatest sprinting racehorse I have ever seen and our little bulldog beat some bloody good horses in running second to the freak! He gave his all and he has made us all proud!
The connections and I just love him!
As I indicated earlier the day was something special as an occasion … 85,000 people and an atmosphere which was electric.
The theatre was awesome and it was in fact eerie as Black Caviar sprinted clear at the 300m mark with the crowd simply in awe of her explosive prowess as it all seemed so effortless.
The applause was initially muted as she crossed the line, but it rose to a crescendo as she came back to scale as the crowd realized what they had justwitnessed.
Maybe we are all becoming a touch blase` with her supreme dominance of the sprint races but, please, never under estimate how brilliant she is! She is an equine miracle and we should all embrace this unique superstar and NEVER underestimate what in fact she really is!
It’s a shame that she isn’t going to Perth. They will miss her ‘walk in the park’ win but again, I believe Peter and the connections have again made the right decision. Maybe a tough call, but time will prove it to be the right call … as Pete invariably has made with her career to date.
I just hope she goes overseas before the Autumn feature sprints so my two don’t have to meet her again. I already have Buffering back home undergoing serious psychotherapy to help him recover from his Black Caviar inferiority complex and he’s not on his own in that regard!
And what about Woorim and The Emirates Group 1 million dollar race!
Michael came out and said he might try and save some ground coming into the straight. I said, dejavu mate. Ride him like last week. I was seriously under the impression that Michael would just bring him to the outside and let him do what we know he does best! That’s rocket down the outside just as he had done seven days earlier!
Michael decided otherwise at a crucial time and went looking for runs towards the inside and unfortunately he was impeded and the horse was not able to be fully tested.
Incredibly, the official stewards report failed to mention any of this so I can only assume that they believed he couldn’t have won!
I am happy in the knowledge that a shit-load of people disagree with that view and believe he could have won. Yes, it was an enormous kick in the guts as it’s not every day that you get a crack in a Group 1 race … and a million dollar race to boot.
I believe Michael knew he had erred in his decision making, but it’s happened and I cannot change that fact.
It still hurts though as Woorim was inconvenienced in the Group 1 at Caulfield last year when he should have won, he missed a vital run in this year’s Straddie and now the Group 1 Emirates!
I truly admire the resilience of Woorim’s owners, Ross and Judy Cutts. They both took it in the chin and said, ‘that’s racing’! Yeah, I know they bled a bit like me, but they will fight back as we plan to win next year’s Stradbroke!
Do I think he would have won if Michael had ridden him the same as the week before when he came down the outside and shit in?
We will never know and I do excuse Michael for his ride as I know he didn’t mean it. It was a vital decision he made which in hindsight was wrong. I only hope that the future allows this wrong to be righted and sees Woorim win the Group 1 race he deserves.
I have been asked what I said to Michael after the run? Not much to be honest as I was a bit stunned, but I know it is just one of those things that can happen. My only comment was short and to the point and rhymed with a bird that swims!
A shame that it was a Group 1 million dollar race and hopefully Michael can square up with me one day in the future!
The thrill of Buffering’s run against Black Caviar overcame the disappointment of the Emirates race and I have long learned that you have to put disappointments behind you as quickly as you can as you cannot afford to dwell on the negatives in this caper!
After a relatively short wait in the taxi queue it was off to the airport for the flight back to Brisbane. Just as the cab was pulling into the air terminal I had the pleasure of listening to Fillydelphia put them to the sword in the last back home in Brisbane!
That was very satisfying to see her bounce back from her last start defeat and to make it two Open company wins from her last three runs!
I am delighted with how well this talented mare has made the transition to Open company racing. Sure, it will get harder as she rises in the weights but winners are grinners and at this stage she is bringing enormous pleasure to her owner/breeders, Pauline and Frank!
So, the Spring carnival is over in Melbourne and in the wash up we had three winners with a couple of Group winners and a Group 1 placing behind the super horse!
Very satisfying indeed and a credit to my main representative down south, Melissa Leitch. Mel did a super job and I am immensely proud of her!
I also want to publicly thank John Thompson from Patinack Farm as they were fantastic hosts at their Flemington base. A real credit to the man as we are in an Indian Arm wrestle for the premiership up here! Quality, pure quality and I wish them every success in every state.
Woorim and Buffering are back home in the spelling paddock at Washpool Lodge and they will do well to prepare for a tilt at the three feature Autumn sprints in Melbourne … the Lightning Handicap, The Oakleigh Plate and then the famed Newmarket in early March.
I am more used to programming horses for Class 1 races at Ipswich, not Group 1 races at Flemington, but what an enormous thrill it has been and hopefully will continue to be!
We have not let the grass grow around our feet back home as we have the exciting Excellantes making his return on Saturday.
I think he is a very smart horse in the making as seen from his record of 5 wins from 10 starts to date. It’s time for him to take that next step and I believe he can as I prepare him for the rich summer sprints!
Work The Room also makes his return, but the punters don’t like him as he’s been a beaten favourite a few times!
He is a talented horse when he’s right, but the 1200 will be a bit sharp for him. Il Cardinale is putting together a handy CV and I think the penny is still to fully drop with him. Coming back to the 1500 isn’t ideal, but I still think he is sharp enough to race well on Saturday and Jimmy has got to know all about his few quirks!
So, the Spring carnival is just about over with the curtain coming down on Saturday at Sandown!
As exciting as it has been, I don’t mind getting back to a bit of ‘normality’ … if there is such a thing in the racing industry!
Cheers for now.Robert
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