Trainer Trent Busuttin has revealed that El Roca will not be at 100 percent when he returns to the races in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) and he believes that talented colt will take plenty of benefit from his run in the $120,000 event.
El Roca has not been seen at the races since he finished ninth in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12, but was given a tune-up for the start of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign when he finished third in a barrier trial over 1040 metres at Te Teko on August 5.
Busuttin told AAP that he was happy with the condition of El Roca heading into the Regal Roller Stakes this weekend, but he believes that the Fastnet Rock entire still has improvement in front of him as he heads towards his Group 1 targets during his spring campaign.
“He’ll strip fit enough to be competitive on Saturday but has got plenty of upside in him,” Busuttin said.
“Obviously he’s got a big campaign ahead of him.
“He won’t be screwed down 100 per cent on Saturday, but we’re very happy with him.”
El Roca is set to head towards the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on September 28, but Busuttin admits that it is always in the back of his mind that the valuable stallion prospect could be retired to stand at stud if he is able to get a Group 1 victory on his racing resume.
“If he runs well on Saturday we’ll head to the Memsie and then there are several options,” Busuttin said.
“I’m sure if he wins that Group One the money would be too big for them (El Roca’s owners) to turn down, but at this stage they are quite happy to keep racing the horse.
El Roca is taking an undefeated first-up record into the Regal Roller Stakes, after previously winning at Taupo on debut in August last year and in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15 at the start of his autumn campaign, and he will be partnered by jockey Hugh Bowman who is yet to miss a placing in his three race starts on the talented entire.