A standout performer over black type events through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, trainer Trent Busuttin has confirmed classy stallion El Roca is on target to line up for the featured Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28th.
Securing a commendable total of three wins and four minor places from just nine competitive starts so far, El Roca has not been seen at the races since finishing ninth on the rain-soaked Randwick course for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 12th.
Initially outlining the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30th as the ideal first-up target, Busuttin admitted he was disappointed to have been forced to remove the Fastnet Rock entire from that event following a minor ailment, but believes he will be in peak condition upon lining up for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
“It was bittersweet, to be honest. You’re always thinking ‘what if’. At the same time, it franks the form around El Roca,” Busuttin told The Herald Sun of the Memsie Stakes.
“I thought, being very early in the spring, the Memsie was going to be a winnable Group 1 for El Roca.
“I’m just pleased the horse is back now and going well.
“He’ll be primed second-up for the Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield on September 28th, which is his new Group 1 goal.
“I’m very happy with him now. I’m pretty confident he will be measuring up.”
Stamping his claims as one to watch from his maiden racing preparation through the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, El Roca won each of his first two starts in his native New Zealand, including the Listed Challenge Stakes (1200m) before crossing the ditch for second in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and credible fifth behind Long John in the featured Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Returning to Australia for first in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) on February 15th, the stallion out of Rubimill finished second in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) on March 15th before claiming minor placings in both the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
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