He might have taken 18 starts to break his Group 1 duck, but Buffering is now making a habit of making trips to the Group 1 winner’s stall, reports Racing Victoria. The Queensland warrior made it back-to-back wins at the highest level when he backed up his narrow Manikato Stakes success at Moonee Valley with victory in today’s $1 million VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington.

The Robert Heathcote-trained seven-year-old led all the way to defeat Shamexpress and Moment of Change in the 1200m event.

Heathcote was thrilled to see him back up the Valley success and confirm his standing as Australia’s number one sprinter.

“There were probably a few unanswered questions after the Manikato, a couple of people thought he might have been lucky but there was no luck in that today,” Heathcote said. “It was pure guts, determination and ability.

“There’s no Black Caviar, no Hay List and no Sepoy, but there’s a Buffering.”

Buffering took his career earnings to $3,821,900 with his 14th win at start number 37.

He took up his customary role as pacemaker in what was a moderate tempo with Hong Kong raider Lucky Nine sitting off to his outside.

Those on the Global Sprint Challenge bonus hopeful knew they were in trouble at the 350m when Brett Prebble started to push the Group 1 winner along, the same point Buffering that slipped more than two lengths clear.

The son of Mossman, a drifter from $8 to start $11, was still that far in front at the 100m and while Shamexpress ($18), who was held up for a run until the 250m, motored home three quarters of a length was as close as he got.

Moment of Change ($9) completed placings in the three open-age Group 1 sprints at Flemington for the year when he finished 1-3/4 lengths away third.

Lucky Nine, well-backed from $3.80 to start $3.40 favourite, finished sixth, almost six lengths from the winner.

Winning jockey Damian Browne said he was always confident the way the race played out.

“The first furlong-and-a-half I got through pretty quietly and as we came across the juncture (500m) I started to put a bit of pressure on and got them off the bit,” he said.

“As soon as I asked him for the kick he gave me a quick length and then it was just a matter of fighting them off.”

The victory was Buffering’s first at seven attempts up the famous Flemington straight, but he had logged four minor placings including a second to Black Caviar in the VRC Sprint Classic two years ago and a close second to Hay List in the 2012 Newmarket Handicap.

He will be given the chance to complete a Group 1 hat-trick in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on 23 November.

The full result of the VRC Sprint Classic is available here