Trainer Trent Busuttin has revealed that classy colt El Roca is already back in work and has been set for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington during the 2013 Melbourne Festival Of Racing.
El Roca recorded two impressive wins in New Zealand, recording victories in a maiden at Taupo and the Listed Westbury Stud Challenge Stakes (1200m), which was enough to earn him a trip to Australia for the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Fastnet Rock colt made his Australian racing debut with a second place finish behind Éclair Big Bang in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and had absolutely no luck when he was shuffled back coming around the bend before finishing fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
El Roca began his autumn preparations in New Zealand yesterday, after just over a month in the spelling paddock, and Busuttin told Racing Victoria that he deliberately did not give the promising colt a particularly long break away from the stable.
“He had the saddle on his back for the first time yesterday and we’ll look to kick him off around the end of January or the start of February,” Busuttin said.
He did really well during his break.
“We haven’t given him too long out, being a big heavy colt you don’t want to let them get too far away on you but I’m very happy with him.
“Hopefully we can have a bit more luck in running then what we did over there last time.”
El Roca will continue his preparations in New Zealand until the end of the year but is expected to do all of his racing in Australia next campaign; with Busuttin still deciding on the exact route that his classy galloper will take to the Australian Guineas.
“There are number of options for his lead-up runs but at this stage with the programming he probably will head straight to Australia and run third-up in the Australian Guineas,” Busuttin said.
“You never know, we’ll play it by ear after that but there are plenty of options for him after the Guineas and he could target a race like the Australian Cup or the Randwick Guineas.”
El Roca could have the chance to make history during his autumn campaign as no horse has ever completed the Australian Guineas/ Australian Cup double, while Mosheen is the only horse to have won the Australian Guineas and Randwick Guineas in the same year.