Unlucky not to break through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, trainer Trent Busuttin has confirmed El Roca will not contest the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30th.
More than stamping his claims as one to watch over major sprinting events through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival during his most recent preparation, El Roca has not been seen at the races since managing only a mid-pack finish in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 12th; his only disappointing performance in five black type starts.
Underlining the 2014 Memsie Stakes as the first major target for the talented kiwi raider this time in, Busuttin said lining up for a Group 1 race first-up after contracting a virus three weeks ago is simply too much to ask of the classy four-year-old this early in his preparation; outlining the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 28th as the new target.
“It’s just too tough, it’s a long spring. Our next immediate aim is the Rupert Clarke, so we will go back to our original plan or running in the Bobbie Lewis,” Busuttin said.
“He’ll then go second up into the Rupert Clarke.”
Securing an impressive total of three wins and four minor places from just nine competitive starts so far, El Roca immediately made his presence felt upon debuting to racing in spring last year; winning his first two starts in New Zealand, 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 featured Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Returning to Australia and the races for a resounding victory in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) first-up on February 15th, the Fastnet Rock entire ran on to finish second in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) on March 8th before finishing an unlucky second to Dissident in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).
Displaying a keen turn of foot to finish third in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) in his only other race start prior to the Doncaster Mile, El Roca will have to find top gear early if to figure in a talented Sir Rupert Clarke field which is likely to feature the likes of Lankan Rupee.
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