Head of Timeform Australia Gary Crispe takes a look at the big race on Friday's Moonee Valley card.
"Always the Group 1 “bridesmaid”, Buffering has raced the best sprinters in Australia, Black Caviar, Sepoy and Hay List over the last 12 months finishing behind the trio on six previous occasions."
Friday's Moonee Valley meeting sees the return to Melbourne by classy Brisbane sprinter Buffering who contests the G2 A J Moir Stakes (1200m) fresh up from a spell.
Always the Group 1 "bridesmaid", Buffering has raced the best sprinters in Australia, Black Caviar, Sepoy and Hay List over the last 12 months finishing behind the trio on six previous occasions.
Sandwiched in those runs was a head second to Hay List in the G1 Newmarket at Flemington earlier this year and a second placing to Black Caviar in the G1 Patinack Classic also down the Flemington straight 1200m.
With all three of those champion sprinters out of play this spring, the opportunity exists for Buffering to dominate and capture his first Group 1 later this campaign.
Buffering comes into tonight's contest easily the highest Timeform rated runner on 126, a figure if repeated would see him account for this line up quite comfortably. While I am not expecting him to be at that level so early in his preparation he still rates as the horse to beat.
Buffering has not raced since his courageous second behind Mid Summer Night under top weight of 58kgs in the G1 Stradbroke Handicap over 1400m at Eagle Farm in June, however his fresh up record is quite impressive, five attempts for four wins and a placing in that state.
Leading Sydney rider Hugh Bowman, who rode Buffering in both his G1 seconds during the Brisbane winter carnival, retains the ride. From his perfect low draw Bowman should be able to control the pace from the front and prove too strong.
The dangers appear to be the rising star Tiger Tees and capable mare Elite Falls. "Giant killer" Tiger Tees (Timeform rated 116p) faces a big test this evening, but one which I believe he is up to. The lightly-raced sprinter from the Joe Pride stable has steadily built an impressive record of nine wins from just 13 starts working his way through the grades, largely without the "hype" normally associated with a young sprinter on the rise.
Tiger Tees burst onto the black-type scene winning the Listed Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in the Autumn defeating Pinwheel in a close finish. Then taken to Brisbane he won at Group 3 level before failing in the G1 Stradbroke.
Spelled after those efforts, he barrier trialled before resuming in the G3 Concorde Stakes (1100m) at Warwick Farm where he opposed his high profile stable mate Rain Affair.
However it was no contest, Rain Affair puncturing at the 300m finishing out of a place while Tiger Tees who sat just off the speed early raced away to record an effortless victory by three lengths.
It was the performance of a horse with much more to come. Unbeaten second up, he rates as a formidable opponent to the proven Buffering. It should be a great contest.
Lightly raced mare Elite Falls (Timeform rated 118) has always promised much but seldom delivered winning just two of her 14 race starts. However it was hard not to be impressed by her fresh up narrow defeat in the G1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield last Autumn where she equalled her career peak Timeform rating of 118.
There is no doubting her ability when in the mood as her third placing in last year's G1 Golden Slipper Stakes behind Sepoy and Mosheen also underlines.
Regular rider Jimmy Cassidy will make the trip to Moonee Valley to partner the mare tonight and there is no jockey riding better right now.
Another factor in Elite Falls' favour is that fact she is already a Moonee valley and she will have the last run at both the aforementioned in the straight.
Two horses having their first starts for new trainers are options for the multiples, Atomic Force (121) and Thankgodyou'rehere (115).
Now under the care of Mick Price, Atomic Force is already a G1 winner of the Railway Stakes in New Zealand last New Year's Day but in three previous match ups with Buffering is yet to finish ahead of that galloper.
Thankgodyou'rehere now with Peter Morgan is likely to find the 1200m a shade short but should be running on strongly. He is one to keep an eye on for longer races.
Enjoy seeing Buffering back at the track!
Recommendation: Win back Buffering @ $3.00
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