Leading jockey Craig Newitt is expecting El Roca to take plenty of beating in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas(1600m) tomorrow and rates the classy colt among the best three-year-olds that he has ever ridden.
Newitt has never won the Caulfield Guineas but partnered Light Fantastic (2008) and Heart Of Dreams (2009) to victory in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and believes that El Roca is just as good, if not better, than the classy pair.
“I said to Trent the first morning that I got him he just oozes class,” Newitt told Sky Racing HQ.
“He is definitely potentially the best three-year-old I have ridden.
“I’ve ridden some nice three-year-olds, like Light Fantastic and Heart of Dreams, and he has the ability to match those.”
El Roca worked at Caulfield on Tuesday, with Newitt on board, and left observers’ gob smacked after he ran the final 400 metres in less than 23 seconds.
Newitt was delighted with the work and is confident that if the Fastnet Rock colt does not run into any trouble he will be very difficult to beat on Saturday.
“His work Tuesday morning was a good as you could have hoped for,” Newitt said.
“He sat off Dany The Fox, who has been competitive in open class middle distance races, and gave him a toweling.
“He pulled up very well after the gallop, Trent is very happy with him, and he is ready to go.
“As we know the Guineas is always a rough run race and he just has to hold his spot early and hopefully something will bang off in front of us and drag along early.
“I’m sure if he has a trouble free run up until the 500m or 600m he will take a power of beating.”
Newitt was criticised for his ride on El Roca in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude, with trainer Trent Busuttin indicating that he thought Newitt got going on the colt too early, and Newitt admitted that he was surprised by the acceleration that El Roca was able to exhibit.
“I spoke to Trent before the race and he said he doesn’t have the best turn-of-foot so you will probably want to get rolling on him,” Newitt said.
“To everybody’s surprise we went through the first part of the race pretty quick and when I started to shake him up coming around the corner he actually showed really good acceleration and put them away quickly and was just grabbed late.”
Newitt has not had much success in his six previous rides in the Caulfield Guineas; with his best result a second place finish on Run For Levi in the 2010 edition of the race.