BRILLIANT mare Sea Siren has bulked up for a return bout with group1 hungry Buffering, and is ready for whatever Queensland’s bulldog sprinter can dish up in tomorrow night’s Manikato Stakes as she chases her third win at the elite level.
With Black Caviar and Hay List on the sidelines this spring, crowd favourite Buffering is out to land a long overdue maiden group1 win, but trainer John O’Shea is confident Sea Siren can deny him again, just as she did in Brisbane earlier this year.
‘‘She’s thicker and has strengthened right up this time around. She’s about 10 kilograms heavier, and hopefully that means she’s faster,’’ he said.
O’Shea has planned a late spring campaign for the dual group1 winner with the Patinack Stakes to be Sea Siren’s target race before a possible trip to Hong Kong in December where the international meeting would expose the already valuable daughter of Fastnet Rock to a global audience keen to secure Australian speed bloodlines.
‘‘You can’t dance every dance, and when you look at Patinack winners, they are the horses coming to the race with fresh legs, and that’s what we’ve planned for her. Hong Kong is an option, too, but we’ll think about that later,’’ O’Shea said.
Sea Siren and Buffering met twice during the Brisbane winter carnival, with the then-filly prevailing at weight-for-age in the Doomben 10,000 by a long neck before Buffering turned the tables under handicap conditions at 1400 metres when he proved 6 lengths superior; they meet tomorrow at WFA once more, with Sea Siren to carry a kilogram more as a spring mare than she did as a three-year-old filly in winter.
‘‘You never know with three-year-olds going to four, but with a bit of luck she’s improved. I think she has,’’ O’Shea said.
Sea Siren had her first look at Moonee Valley on Tuesday morning, and breezed around the circuit with ease alongside stablemate Knight Exemplar, pleasing O’Shea and jockey Jim Cassidy, who takes the ride tomorrow night. ‘‘She was never going to do too much, they burn enough juice coming here and getting excited, so she was just out to have a look,’’ O’Shea said.
Although he could gather little insight from the stopwatch, O’Shea took greater confidence from Sea Siren’s comfort when cornering at the awkward Valley track, a measure that the trainer says gives a profoundindication of a horse’s winning chances come race day.
‘‘They either handle it the first time or it’s a disaster, in my experience. I remember bringing Racing To Win here, and he galloped ordinary and it was a disaster; Foxwedge went around perfect first time and won a group 1,’’ O’Shea said.