Ad Buenos Noches on the way to the barriers prior to the running of the Darley Champions Sprint at Flemington. (Morgan Hancock/Racing Photos)

Buenos Noches chases breakthrough win in Newmarket

7 March 2024 Written by Racing & Sports

The Newmarket Handicap will be the latest shot at Group 1 glory for Buenos Noches.

Trainer Matthew Smith has the confidence in Buenos Noches to finally shed his bridesmaid tag in a feature Group 1 sprint down the Flemington straight. 

Buenos Noches runs in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on Saturday, having finished seventh in the race last year. 

But the four-year-old also has finished third in the Coolmore Stud Stakes as a three-year-old and last spring chased home Imperatriz in the Champions Stakes over Saturday's course and distance. 

This time around there is a weight advantage in Buenos Noches' corner from the Champions Sprint, a 4-½ kilogram swing for a half-length defeat. 

Smith is confident Buenos Noches is going as well as he was when beaten by Imperatriz, despite finishing out of the money first-up in the Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 17 when an odds-on favourite. 

"He got too far back and then the race broke up and he got left," Smith said. 

"Anyway, he's got the race under the belt now and is fit and ready to go. 

"I think he's going as good, if not better, than he was last prep, and that is just based on the feel of the horse, and he seems really well in himself. 

"The weight also helps. It's a four-and-a-half kilo turnaround from the Champions Sprint." 

Buenos Noches has been in Melbourne for a week and won a jump-out over 800m at Flemington last week, a hit out reserved for Newmarket Handicap contenders. 

Smith said Buenos Noches was a happy horse and he was more than satisfied with the entire's jump-out and work since. 

He said the expected heat, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting a top temperature of 39 degrees at Flemington on Saturday, should not affect Buenos Noches. 

"The weather may play a part. It's going to be hot, it might suit some and not others," Smith said. 

"He's fit and ready to go, so we'll have to hope that he gets a good run and see what happens. 

"Hopefully it's a good race."