Trainer Trent Busuttin has revealed that classy colt El Roca will return to Australia for the 2014 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival; with the 2014 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield the major target for the Group 1 placegetter.
El Roca started his racing career with two straight wins in New Zealand, including an impressive two lengths win in the Listed Westbury Stud Challenge Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka, but since that time has raced exclusively in Australia and Busuttin told The New Zealand Racing Desk that the colt will have at least two starts in Australia during the spring.
The son of Fastnet Rock was narrowly denied a maiden win at Group 1 level during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and Busuttin said that he is desperate to score a win at the highest level of racing with the three-year-old.
“The obvious aim is a Group One win to make him a stallion proposition,” Busuttin said.
“He’ll come back in from a break on June 1 and later he’ll be on a flight back to Melbourne with the Sir Rupert Clarke at Caulfield his main aim.
“He’ll have a lead-up run two weeks before that in the Regal Roller Stakes.”
El Roca made his Australian racing debut with a second place finish behind Éclair Big Bang in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 29 last year and had no luck when fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12.
After a stint in the spelling paddock, El Roca returned to racing with an impressive win in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15 and finished second against a strong field in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Warwick Farm on March 8.
El Roca was very well-backed in the lead-up to the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 15 and he looked like the winner at the 200 metre mark, but was narrowly defeated by Dissident before recording a second straight Group 1 placing in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29.
The three-year-old was well weighted in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), but failed to show his usual acceleration on the heavy Royal Randwick surface and could finish no better than ninth.
Busuttin is chasing his second Group 1 victory in Australia after winning the 2011 edition of the Victoria Derby (2500m) with Sangster.