HE’S one of the toughest gallopers in Australia but even iron-horse Buffering can occasionally feel the wear and tear of a big race.

The Robert Heathcote trained gelding showed all of his usual tenacity to finish third in the Doomben 10,000 last start in what was the perfect prelude to his Stradbroke Handicap attempt this weekend.

But Group 1 racing can take a toll even on horses like Buffering.

“He knew he’d had a run,” Heathcote told AAP.

“It was really only on Wednesday morning that he had a bit of a chirp and a squeal for the first time since he ran at Doomben.

“He’s such a bulldog. He always bounces back and it’s no different this time.”

Although the gelding was narrowly defeated by Hay List in last year’s Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, Heathcote regards his performance in the 10,000 as superior.

“I said to the owners I thought it was his personal best,” he said.

“It was a Group One effort deserving of a Group One win.”

The 10,000 was Buffering’s eighth Group One placing with tomorrow’s feature his last opportunity to win at the elite level this season.

“I still think my horse is a genuine winning chance in the Stradbroke,” Heathcote said.

Buffering will carry top weight of 58kg and, if successful, will be the highest handicapped horse since Rough Habit carried 58.5kg to win his second Stradbroke in 1992.