Trainer Trent Busuttin is happy with the condition of talented Kiwi entire El Roca as he continues to build to towards a return to racing in 2015.
El Roca missed the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival after he suffered a suspensory injury ahead of the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 13 and there were fears that his racing career may be over, but Busuttin revealed last month that the son of Fastnet Rock would be able to recover from the injury and he told The New Zealand Racing Desk yesterday that the four-year-old had started some very light work ahead of his return to full trackwork next month.
“He’s currently on the water walker and all the scans have been positive and show it’s healing as it should,” Busuttin said.
“He’ll be back in the stable in about six weeks and all going well he’ll have a trial here and then off to Australia again.”
Busuttin is still treating El Roca as a week by week proposition, but he remains hopeful that the Group 1 placegetter will be able to return to racing at the tail end of the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival before heading to Brisbane for a winter campaign.
The leading New Zealand-based trainer revealed last month that the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben during the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival could be the right race for El Roca and he confirmed that Queensland’s most prestigious race was still a likely target for his star galloper.
“The Stradbroke is worth $A2 million this year and it doesn’t really matter which Group One he wins – it will all put value on him,” Busuttin said.
El Roca is already considered one of New Zealand’s most exciting stallion prospects, but can greatly enhance his value at stud if he is able to breakthrough for a maiden win at Group 1 level.
He made his Group 1 debut with a luckless fifth behind Long John in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) before he was narrowly denied by Dissident in last year’s Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m).
El Roca produced another consistent performance at the highest level of racing when he finished third in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), but could fare no better than ninth on a wet track in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).