No Australian Guineas For El Roca

By: Thomas Hackett
January 15th, 2014

Trainer Trent Busuttin has ruled El Roca out of contention for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and the talented colt will now race exclusively in Sydney during the autumn.

El Roca made his Australian racing debut with a second place finish behind Eclair Big Bang in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude.

El Roca made his Australian racing debut with a second place finish behind Eclair Big Bang in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia

El Roca performed well in two starts in Melbourne during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, finishing second in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and an unlucky fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), and will return to Australia for the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival without running in New Zealand.

The Australian Guineas was the original target for El Roca, but Busuttin said the Group 1 event would come around too quickly for the big colt and he will instead begin his campaign in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15.

“I would have liked to bring him to Melbourne, but it has rolled around a bit quick for him,” Busuttin told Racing Ahead.

“He is a big lump of a horse and it just takes a while to get the weight off him.

“We would have had to put him under a fair amount of pressure and there is a lot of racing all the way through to April.

“It is hard to do both and we have decided on Sydney, so that is where we will head.”

El Roca will contest the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 1 before returning to Group 1 level in the Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15.

Busuttin has not decided what races El Roca will contest after running in the Royal Randwick Guineas, but said he could be entered for the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) and Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) or even step up to 2000 metres for the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).

“He will kick-off in the Eskimo Prince Stakes, all going well, and then he will go onto the Hobartville and into the Randwick Guineas,” Busuttin said.

“If he could measure up and win one of those three-year-old races, I am sure that you would have a look at races like the George Ryder and the Doncaster.

“Three-year-olds have a good record in it and to be honest I am still unsure about his best distance.

Craig Newitt was pretty adamant that he would get 2000 metres and the big $4 million carrot at the end of it all looks pretty good if you are up and going well.

“We will just take it as we go.”

Busuttin said that there has been plenty of jockeys interested in picking up the ride on El Roca and the leading New Zealand trainer confirmed that he will be looking for a rider that is based in Sydney.

“We would like somebody like Nash Rawiller or James McDonald from Sydney.

“If we were heading to Melbourne, Craig Newitt was still in the mix or somebody like Oliver, but in Sydney we will stick to a Sydney jockey.

“I am sort off undecided as of yet.”

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