Co-trainer Natalie Young has confirmed that El Roca will return to the races in the 2014 Regal Roller Stakes at Caulfield on August 16 after the talented colt impressed in his first piece of serious trackwork on the weekend.
El Roca returned from a stint in the spelling paddock in June and trainers Trent Busuttin and Young have brought the rising four-year-old on slowly before giving him his first piece of series trackwork at Cambridge on Saturday.
Young told The New Zealand Racing Desk that she was very happy with the way El Roca performed in his gallop on the weekend and he is looking forward to getting the Fastnet Rock colt’s 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign underway in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m).
“He had his first gallop on Saturday and he went really well,” Young said.
“He’s coming up nicely and this time in he’s carrying a bit more condition.
“He’ll have a trial at Te Teko on the fifth and he’ll be on the plane on the 10th and run in the Regal Roller on the 16th and then on to the Memsie a fortnight later.”
El Roca will return to the highest level of racing for the first Group 1 event of the 2014/2015 racing season in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and will likely have one more start over 1400 metres before contesting the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28.
The stallion prospect will be returning to Melbourne racing for the first time since he finished a luckless fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12 last year and connections are desperate to win a Group 1 with the three-year-old after he was narrowly denied during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
El Roca went into the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600n) on March 15 as a clear favourite, but he was denied his maiden Group 1 victory by Dissident and he performed gamely on a wet track to finish third in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29 before finishing a credible ninth in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12.
The consistent colt has missed the placings in just two of his nine race starts to date and has accumulated over $350,000 in prizemoney for connections.