A rousing morning gallop and a good barrier draw will see New Zealand visitor El Roca start as one of the top fancies in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The lightly raced Fastnet Rock colt was able to knock off trainer Mick Price’s open company horse Danny The Fox in a 1200m gallop at Caulfield and then the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young trained El Roca came up with barrier two for the $1m race for the three year olds.
Price was on hand to watch the gallop and reported that the Kiwi’s work was outstanding after giving the old galloper a head start and overhauled him by a length in the run to the line to run, clocking 22.34s for the final 400m of the 1200m hit out.
“Dany The Fox is going into the Group 1 Toorak Handicap on Saturday and I could not get him any better,” Price told the Herald Sun.
“El Roca is a big, solid colt. I haven’t got a runner in the Guineas but I thought his work was outstanding.”
El Roca was only having his third race start when three quarters of a length second to Eclair Big Bang in the Group 3 $175,000 BECK Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 29.
The Kiwi three year old came to Melbourne with two wins from two starts but clearly showed he is above average at Caulfield and with that local run under his belt is going to be in the firing line on Saturday.
In form jockey Craig Newitt will again be on El Roca and is certain to take advantage of the good barrier after setting the pace in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude.
Race favourite Long John will jump from the inside gate with Kerrin McEvoy looking to get the run of the race just off the pace.
Peter Moody’s luck was divided at the barrier draw with Dissident drawing one from the outside at thirteen while Weinholt drew reasonably at six.
Damien Oliver will take over on the Tony Vasil trained Prince Harada, who will jump from barrier twelve while Nash Rawiller replaced Oliver on Divine Calling from gate ten.
The Caulfield Guineas market order sees Long John the $3.80 favourite with Prince Harada the second pick at $4.60 with El Roca marked at $7 and Eclair Big Bang at $9.