This is a wonderful race. The two best horses in the race have tried and just failed time after time to win a Group One, while the best sprinting three-year-old left in racing is just sitting in the wings waiting to win. There are also the two Boom horses that travel around Australia just missing time after time in Group One races as well as the Brisbane carnival super mare from last year who is starting to re-capture her best form.
Buffering is a gun. He really is a gun who was born just at the wrong time. At his last start he won a Group Two race by 3.5 lengths with 58.5kg. He was hassled in the lead for the whole race but sped away to record a super win. His last two Group One races in the spring were pretty ordinary but before that he was narrowly beaten in the Stradbroke after jumping from barrier 14, sitting wide and carrying 58kg compared to the winner’s 53.5kg. Previous to that race he was just beaten by Sea Siren in the Doomben 10,000 after coming off a stone bruise and not really being 100% fit. In his four Group One races before the Doomben 10,000 only Foxwedge, Hay List and Black Caviar finished in front of him. He looks ideally placed in the BTC Cup this year and is the deserved favourite. He will put in his usual grand effort and will most likely be right there at the finish.
Rain Affair is another who deserves a Group One win. He was narrowly beaten by All Too Hard last start and before that he ran creditable fourths to Pierro (and More Joyous) and Black Caviar. Atlantic Jewel has also in the past narrowly beaten Rain Affair in a Group One race. Rain Affair is flying. He and Buffering will be up on the speed and as long as they don’t cut each other up, they will more than likely both be in the finish.
Better Than Ready has a claim to be the best sprinting three-year-old in the country with all the recent retirements of our stars. He looks a really good chance in this race on Saturday. Sure he not really done anything in the past, but the way he wins is just so impressive. He also may have just had an off day in the Newmarket at Flemington where he was backed as if unbeatable but did not really finish the race off. Better Than Ready is a colt, so we can’t look forward to him running for many years to come, but on his home track with weight relief off the others, this seems like his best chance to date to snag a Group One race.
The Boom horses. Temple Of and Spirit Of are hard tough geldings. Temple Of has won a Group One race in the past and Spirit Of is always competitive and always runs on at Group One level. Look out for them as the two blow out chances.
Sea Siren is slowly getting back into form. This time last year, she came from nowhere to win this race (the 2012 edition) and the Doomben 10,000 which had Buffering in the race. She then popped up (first up) to win the Manikato at Moonee Valley and was just beaten in the Patinack. She has class personified and you can never doubt a three time Group One winner, especially one who is proven in the Queensland winter sun.
Verdict: Better Than Ready just has something about him. He has not really beaten any good horses in his career to date but he just storms home and can pick up the field in a couple of bounds. If Rain Affair and Buffering tear each other up in the lead, then Better Than Ready can swoop home and win his maiden Group One.
4th. Sea Siren, Temple Of Boom and Spirit Of Boom. A three-way dead-heat for 4th. See if the corporates will let you on for that!
3rd. Rain Affair. He is tough and hard but the Stradbroke may be his best chance to break his Group One duck.
2nd. Buffering. With a pull in the weights and the presumed pressure up front, Better Than Ready may just get past this old warrior. But he will be there and Better Than Ready will need to be a really quality horse to get past him.
1st. Better Than Ready. The day he got backed from $31 into $4.50 at his first start then won like Bernborough, was the first indication he was a star. The day he broke the track record at Randwick was another. He is almost unbeatable if he is given a good ride and with horses like this that can sit on the pace or drop back there is very little guess work. If he runs to his best with the pull in the weights he looks mighty hard to beat.
By Zeb Armstrong