Little known Kiwi three year old El Roca could be a surprise Melbourne Spring Carnival visitor after winning on debut at Taupo in New Zealand on Monday.
The Fastnet Rock colt was having his first race star for Cambridge trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young and easily saluted in the 1000m Maiden with Leith Innes aboard.
Busuttin has always had a high opinion of El Roca, so much so that the three year old has been nominated for the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12 and the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
“We threw in a nomination for the Cox Plate but that’s more a dream than anything, but he’s also in the Caulfield Guineas,” Busuttin told The Informant.
“He’d have to get his mind on the job though if he wants to get to Melbourne. He knows he’s a boy but he’s got any amount of ability.”
Busuttin realises that El Roca has a long way to go and a lot of improvement is needed if he is to join stablemate and Melbourne Cup hopeful Sangster in Melbourne for the Spring Carnival, but will give the colt every chance to earn a trip.
“That was a good start and he’ll hopefully go on with it, maybe take in the Hawke’s Bay Guineas and go from there,” Busuttin said.
The Group 2 NZ$85,000 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hawke’s Bay is on October 5, only a week before the Caulfield Guineas and El Roca would have to be a very impressive winner to warrant a rushed trip to Melbourne, but three year old races later in the Carnival like the Group 2 $350,000 Sportingbet Sandown Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on November 16 would be suitable.
Several of El Roca’s owners are also in the ownership of Busuttin’s top stable performer Sangster who will be heading to Melbourne with the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5 in his sights.
Busuttin will be heading back to Flemington with Sangster where he burst into the spotlight by winning the 2011 Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m).
Sangster has his first run back from a spell last Saturday at Waikato following a return to form in the Autumn which netted the five year old two Group 1 wins and a Group 2 win on home soil.
Busuttin didn’t expect the stayer to figure in the finish of the 1200m Group 3 NZ$70,000 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate but would have been happy with his midfield placing.
Sangster will now have one more run in New Zealand at Hastings before heading off to Melbourne.
“We’ll have another run here at Hastings over 1400 metres, then we’ll be off to Melbourne,” Busuttin said.