The latest in a growing list of virus hit spring stars to have their returns delayed, the Trent Busuttin-trained Kiwi galloper El Roca will miss their first-up run in the 2014 Regal Roller Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Group 1 performed on four occasions already during their nine start career, the New Zealand based son of Fastnet Rock was to have been one of the headline runners in this weekend’s $120,000 Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) on PB Lawrence Stakes Day.
Everything looked on track earlier in the week for their four-year-old debut, Busuttin was talking up their Regal Roller chances saying they would be “fit enough to be competitive on Saturday” with Ladbrokes.com.au ready to lock them in at a short price to win.
They arrived from New Zealand in Melbourne on Sunday though with an elevated temperature forcing Busuttin and his co-trained Natalie Young to shelve plans to run on Saturday, the duo informing Racing Victoria stewards El Roca would not be accepted for the Regal Roller.
“We had to treat it now in case it got a little bit serious and it’s just one of those things,” Young told the Herald Sun on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately the treatment has ruled out the Regal Roller, but the horse’s welfare has to come first.”
It could also mean the dual stakes winner will miss the season’s first Group 1 with their $400,000 Memsie Stakes (1400m) start back at Caulfield on August 30 now also in doubt.
Hugh Bowman was engaged to ride El Roca in the Regal Roller Stakes but still has some other exciting rides on the card including aboard the Chris Waller-trained Group 1 winner Foreteller in the $200,000 Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m).
This will be El Roca’s third trip down under following a two hit Melbourne campaign last spring that concluded with a fifth to Long John in the Caulfield Guineas and a five start Sydney autumn preparation.
During the autumn they were in flying form running a nose away second to Dissident in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and third to Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) before a Heavy (9) track and wide gate saw them run a flat ninth to Sacred Falls in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Their spring this year now is up in the air with Busuttin to give them a Flemington hit-out on Friday to assess the damage of the virus and missing the Regal Roller.
The other headliners out with viral setbacks this season include Gerald Ryan’s Blue Diamond fourth placegetter Rubick and Hawkes Racing’s Golden Slipper winning filly Mossfun.
With El Roca out there are still plenty of other talented Regal Roller Stakes entries this weekend including Peter Moody’s Memsie Stakes-bound top weight Moment Of Change (62kg) and last start Bletchingly Stakes winner at the track and distance Thiamandi (54kg) for Adelaide trainer Lloyd Kennewell.
Busuttin and Young meanwhile also bought over three of El Roca’s stabelmates to Victoria this week with 2014 Cox Plate nominated Johnhro, the unraced Atmosphere an High Tec all making the trip without issue.
The former Andrew Campbell-trained Cauthen will also arrive for them today with the Darci Brahma four-year-old having had a stable transfer ahead of their Cox Plate bid.
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