Performing to a high standard and unlucky not to break through for a maiden Group 1 victory through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, trainer Trent Busuttin is confident El Roca will secure an elusive win at the highest level of Australian racing during a spring campaign that will kick off in this weekend’s Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield Racecourse.
Returning to Australia for an impressive first in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) on February 15th, the New Zealand-native was unlucky to finish second in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) on March 8th before claiming minor places in both the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
Reportedly taking well to his time in the paddock, Busuttin told AAP he is confident in El Roca’s abilities first-up in the Regal Roller Stakes, outlining progression to the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30th as the result of a successful performance.
“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.
“If he runs well on Saturday we’ll head to the Memsie and then there are several options.”
A notable performer in events over the Australian Spring Racing Carnival, El Roca won each of his first two starts in New Zealand in his debut preparation in 2013, including the Listed Challenge Stakes (1200m) before crossing the ditch for second in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and a credible fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12th.
Attracting a lot of attention from New Zealand breeders following his 2014 autumn campaign, Busuttin said plans have not been made for El Roca to retire into a career as a stud, however a spring Group 1 would likely seal his future.
“I’m sure if he wins that Group One the money would be too big for them to turn down. But at this stage they are quite happy to keep racing the horse,” Busuttin said of El Roca’s connections.
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