Trainer Trent Busuttin is happy with the progress of talented colt El Roca ahead of his return to Australian racing in the Group 2 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15.
Busuttin told Sky Racing HQ that El Roca has returned from the spelling paddock in excellent condition and confirmed that the son of Fastnet Rock will head to Australia next week if he performs well in a barrier trial at Avondale next Tuesday.
“He has had a handful of gallops and a jump-out,” Busuttin said.
“We went out for a spell straight after the Guineas and he has come back as good.
“We are starting to let the handbrake off him and he is starting to run a bit of time in his work.
“We are heading towards a trial next Tuesday and if he gets safely through that we will put him on a plane and bring him over to Sydney.
“He will kick-off in the Eskimo Prince Stakes in the middle of February.
“We are very excited about getting him over there.”
El Roca finished fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and is set to have a number of further opportunities at the highest level of racing during his autumn campaign.
The three-year-old will run in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 1 second-up before stepping back up to Group 1 level for the Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15.
Busuttin is hopeful that Busuttin can record a race win in one of the major three-year-old events during his preparation and said there are a number of options for his star galloper after he contests the Royal Randwick Guineas.
“We will take it as it comes and go open-minded,” Busuttin said.
“If he is competitive enough against his own age-group we may look at the George Ryder or the Doncaster, but then again he may head through to a race like the Rosehill Guineas.
“It is all up in the air at the moment.
“There is plenty of money and plenty of races to choose from over there.”
Leading Melbourne jockey Craig Newitt partnered El Roca in his two previous race starts in Australia, but connections have opted to go with a Sydney jockey for the colt’s autumn campaign and he will be partnered by Hugh Bowman in the Eskimo Prince Stakes.