X-factor set for the Black Caviar challenge

black_caviarBlack Caviar and Hay List dominate markets for Saturday’s Group I BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben but if there is an X-factor horse in the race, it’s the Robert Heathcote-trained Buffering. Buffering returned from a break in scintillating fashion when scoring in the Group II Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight ago.

He led and gave nothing else a chance when defeating a classy field which included Group I winners Atomic Force and Albert The Fat and Heathcote believes there is more to come from the son of Mossman.

“He went into the Victory Stakes underdone as a result of a hoof setback and I am 100 percent convinced my horse has improved,” Heathcote said.

Heathcote acknowledged the task ahead of his three-year-old but indicated Saturday’s race and the Group I Doomben 10,000 (1350m) were important stepping stones for his ultimate goal, the Group I Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).

“I’m a realist – If Black Caviar and Hay List turn up we’re probably running for third place,” he said.

“His main goal is the Stradbroke where he’ll only carry 50.5kg.”

Heathcote is Queensland’s leading trainer with 44.5 wins this season 15.5 clear of Liam Birchley but remains humble about his achievements.

“This is the biggest raceday (BTC Cup) Brisbane has seen for probably 20 years and I’m happy that I’ve got a horse that has every right to be taking on the world’s best,” he said.