For Mel Sharpe looking after Buffering is anything but a chore.
Sharpe has travelled with Buffering to Dubai and Hong Kong for trainer Robert Heathcote and has been the nine-year-old’s main companion for the past three years.
Sharpe is on her third trip to Melbourne as the Queensland sprinter prepares for a fifth assault on the Moir Stakes on Friday night.
She says she doesn’t mind the travel, in fact enjoys it.
“I like spending time with the horses. It’s my holiday instead of taking holidays,” she said.
When Sharpe travels with Buffering, it’s not first class.
She’s on the cargo plane and when in Dubai earlier in the year was staying just 100m from where Buffering was stabled.
“It was like we were living together,” she said.
Buffering can be a “grumpy old man” and Sharpe knows well enough when to leave him alone, but is aware when he needs a little more attention.
“If he wants to come up for cuddles, you take it,” she said.
“He’s a lovely horse to handle when you know him.”
Buffering’s win in the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai in March was a highlight for Sharpe while his performance in the Chairman’s Sprint in Hong Kong five weeks later left her deflated.
“It was quite grim and we thought it was going to be his last race,” Sharpe said.
“He pulled up sore after the race with an old fetlock injury and once they redo it it’s not real promising, but he came through that in flying colours.
“He also had a bleed inside but he’s all good now.”
Sharpe said Buffering had come to Melbourne in better condition than when he defeated Ball Of Muscle in last year’s 1000m sprint.
She says his coat has come through compared to 12 months ago, but she knows the gelding is in for a tough contest.
But of more importance is that Buffering comes through the race in good order.
“Every race we treat as his last,” Sharpe said.
“We just want him to pull up happy, healthy and sound.”