A notable performer over five starts during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival, co-trainer Natalie Young has revealed rising four-year-old El Roca will return to Australian shores this spring to contest a campaign geared towards the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 28th.
Strolling home to win the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) by more than two lengths first-up on February 15th, El Roca continued to build in form and class via unlucky seconds in both the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) and Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) before displaying a keen turn of foot to run on for third in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on March 29th.
Unable to handle the heavy conditions when ninth in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in his last appearance before heading home to New Zealand, El Roca reportedly took well to his time in the paddock, but has been back in light work since mid-June.
Pleased with the way the Fastnet Rock colt has taken to work, Young revealed he will be given his first serious piece of work at Cambridge this weekend, and is likely to make a first-up appearance in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield Racecourse on August 16th.
“He had his first gallop on Saturday and he went really well,” Young said.
“He’s coming up nicely and this time in he’s carrying a bit more condition.
“He’ll have a trial at Te Teko on the fifth and he’ll be on the plane on the 10th and run in the Regal Roller on the 16th and then on to the Memsie a fortnight later.”
Securing an impressive total of three race wins and four minor places from just nine competitive race starts to date, El Roca was a standout performer in his maiden racing preparation through the spring of 2013; winning each of his first two starts including the Listed Challenge Stakes (1200m) before crossing the ditch to finish second to Éclair Big Bang in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and fifth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
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