Trent Busuttin is confident that El Roca will run well when he returns to racing in the 2015 BTC Cup, but the rising trainer admits that the talented entire will take plenty of benefit from his first race start in over a year.
El Roca suffered a suspensory injury in the lead-up to the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) in September last year and Busuttin has been forced to patiently nurse the four-year-old back to full health for the 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
The Fastnet Rock entire performed strongly in a barrier trial over 1000 metres at Te Teko on April 30 before he made the trip to Australia on Sunday and he impressed Busuttin with his performance in trackwork this morning.
Busuttin told Sky Racing HQ that he expects El Roca to produce a strong effort in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben this weekend, but he believes that the four-year-old will not be at his best until he contests the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at the same venue on May 23 with a race start under his belt.
“He has settled in well, eaten well and galloped up well this morning, so I am very happy with him heading into the race,” Busuttin said.
“He has come back well, he has taken a long time to get fit and he is probably a long way off being at peak fitness.
“He is a big stallion and you can only get them so fit without racing.
“He trialed up well, had a good blow and he always puts in.
“He will race well, but it is a bit unknown.”
El Roca is based at Busuttin’s Cambridge stable and the temperature in the area has already dropped to zero degrees as the early winter hits New Zealand.
Busuttin said that both he and El Roca had felt the effects of the warm weather in Queensland this weekend, but he is confident that the heat will not be a problem for the Group 1 placegetter in the 2015 BTC Cup this weekend.
“He has noticed it as have I,” Busuttin said.
“Winter has started in New Zealand and it is zero degrees already, but he got off the plane and it is 21 or 22.
“He has noticed it, but he has probably started to enjoy it today.
“He has drank plenty of water, had a saline and it won’t worry him.
“Most of them thrive getting into the warm weather and he will improve.”
El Roca is currently available at 2015 BTC Cup odds of $13 with Ladbrokes, while Our Boy Malachi ($4) has opened as a favourite from Srikandi ($5) and Trust In A Gust ($7).