Barrier draw against El Roca

El Roca, who has fared poorly in the barrier draw for his long-awaited return to racing.  (Photo: Race Images).

El Roca, who has fared poorly in the barrier draw for his long-awaited return to racing. (Photo: Race Images).


There’s a saying that good things come to those who wait, but it’s one that Trent Busuttin will take issue with.

The Cambridge horseman and his partner Natalie Young have played a protracted waiting game with El Roca only to suffer a serious setback in the lead-up to Saturday’s Gr. 1 A$500,000 BTC Cup.

“Drawing barrier 14 in a Group One race over 1200 metres makes it virtually impossible,” said Busuttin. “He’ll probably have to go forward and for a horse that hasn’t raced for 13 months he’ll be working hard. There will be a lot of speed on.

“Barriers win races and in a tough one like this it’s hard to see him not sitting three deep. I’ll leave it all up to Hugh Bowman, but he’s a fresh horse and he’ll jump well.

“When you see a go forward horse like Trust In A Gust drawing three then you know he’s going to get the right run.”

The horror gate aside, Busuttin has been thrilled with the progress of El Roca toward his long-awaited return.

“Everything is in line except for the barrier,” he said. “I couldn’t be any happier with the horse.

“He will obviously improve as there’s nothing like race fitness. Had he got a gate I could have seen him making a good show of it.”

Busuttin’s Group One luck hasn’t been much better at Morphettville where El Roca’s stablemate Gifted Lad is on the ballot for the Gr. 1 A$500,000 South Australian Derby.

“He’s in Melbourne and it’s a nine-hour float trip to Adelaide, but he’s in the 2800-metre race at Flemington,” he said.

“It’s not ideal as he’s not that well off in the handicap. It’s a back-up and Chris Parnham will ride him if he doesn’t make the Derby field.”

—NZ Racing Desk