A notable performer through the 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival, talented kiwi raider El Roca has been confirmed to return to Australian shores early in the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival to contest the featured Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on August 30.
Strolling home to win the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) first-up on February 15th, El Roca was unlucky to not secure another race victory over four proceeding starts, however did secure several impressive results via second in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m), second in the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) and third in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
Initially targeting the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 28th as the first Group 1 feature for the rising four-year-old this spring, co-trainer Trent Busuttin said El Roca has taken particularly well to work since returning to his Cambridge stables mid-June, and is itching to get back on course competitively.
“I had him set for the Rupert Clarke Stakes and I was going to run in the Bobbie Lewis (13 September) leading into it, but he’s back in work and he was jumping out of his skin,” Busuttin told Racing Victoria.
“He’s come up a lot quicker than expected and it was still a fair way away until September the 13th.
“I had another look through the program, I had thought about the Memsie Stakes, and the way he’s come on and a lot quicker we just decided to bring his program forward a bit.”
Expecting a polished performance from the Fastnet Rock colt in the Memsie, Busuttin said he is unlucky to progress to the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on September 6th, but will likely revert back to the initial lead-up to the Sir Rupert Clarke and then move onto late sprint events.
“If he ran second or third or fourth or something in the Memsie, then you’ve still got the Rupert Clarke which is probably a nice winnable Group 1 handicap race where he’d get in well at the weights” Busuttin added.
“If he can get a Group 1 under his belt early on, say in the Memsie, I’d probably freshen him up and aim up towards a couple of sprint races later on in the Carnival.”
A notable performer in spring events, El Roca secured back-to-back victories on debut in New Zealand before crossing to Australia for second in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in 2013.
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