Trainer Trent Busuttin has confirmed that classy colt El Roca will come to Australia to contest the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 29.
The Fastnet Rock colt started his career with a comfortable victory in a maiden at Taupo in August and earnt himself a trip to Melbourne for the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival with a two lengths victory in the Listed Westbury Challenge Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka on Saturday.
Busuttin has had previous success bringing three-year-olds to Australia, winning the 2011 Victoria Derby with Sangster, but admits that the Caulfield Guineas Prelude will be a much tougher test for El Roca than his two career starts in New Zealand.
“We are under no illusions, it is an enormous jump in class but he is a Fastnet Rock colt out of an Australian-bred mare so he has that on his side,” Busuttin told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“It is not far too go, if he runs well enough we can keep him over there and he doesn’t we can bring him straight home.
“The owners are keen to have a go and we obviously have a bit of an opinion of him to bring him over.
“He gets here on Sunday and that gives him a week to settle in before heading to Caulfield on Saturday for the Prelude.”
El Rocco finished strongly in the Westbury Challenge Stakes and Busuttin is confident that the three-year-old will relish the 1400 metres of the Caulfield Guineas Prelude and have no problems running out the mile of the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas, if he makes it to the race.
“It was good to see that he was one out and one back and finished off well,” Busuttin said.
“The jockey got off and said he was a 1600 metre horse, which was great.”
Mark Du Plessis rode El Roca in New Zealand on Saturday but Busuttin has made the decision to go with a local rider in Melbourne, with leading jockey Craig Newitt set to take the ride.
“I’ve always been a fan of Craig’s,” Busuttin said.
“He is a big strong colt this horse and everybody knows that Craig is a strong rider and I think that he will suit the horse.”