Cambridge trainer Trent Busuttin has given El Roca the all clear to head to Melbourne on the weekend for the Spring Carnival following a pleasing barrier trial at Te Teko today.
El Roca will return to Australia on Saturday after finishing third in the 1040m trial in search of an initial Group 1 victory after recording two Group 1 placings during the Sydney Autumn Carnival earlier in the year.
Busuttin, who trains in partnership with Natalie Young, didn’t want El Roca to have a hard hit out and rider Opie Bosson didn’t put the four year old under any pressure.
“Very happy with him, he was just there for a day out,” Busuttin told the NZ Racing desk.
“I said to Opie don’t knock him around, just let him do his thing.
“That will tuck him up a lot. He still had a bit of condition on him and he had a good blow afterwards but as I said that will bring him on.
“He gets on a plane on Saturday and will race the next Saturday.
“A couple of good gallops between now and then and he’ll be spot on first-up.”
Busuttin plans to run El Roca in the Listed $120,000 Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 16 and then onto the Group 1 $400,000 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30.
But the rest of the Spring program is still up in the air with Busuttin wanting to wait to see how El Roca performs in the weight for age Memsie Stakes.
“We’ll let the horse tell us if he goes up in distance or back in distance,” Busuttin said.
“We’ll play it by ear a bit this time in.
“The Memsie gives him a good opportunity for that (a Group I win) albeit it’s at weight-for-age against the topline horses.
“If he can run well in that without winning there’s a nice race a month later, the Group I Rupert Clarke. It’s a Group I but it’s probably a step down from the Memsie Stakes.”
The Group 1 $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) is run at Caulfield on September 28.
El Roca proved in the Autumn that he was up to Group 1 standard with a nose second to Dissident in the Group 1 $600,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 15 followed by a third to Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 1 weight for age $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill two weeks later.
The Fastnet Rock four year old has won over $400,000 from three wins, three seconds and a third from nine race starts with one of those wins being the Listed $125,000 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in February at the beginning of his Autumn campaign.