Camino Rocoso starts Derby path

Camino Rocoso (Craig Grylls) powering to a mighty win at Ellerslie tonight.

Camino Rocoso (Craig Grylls) powering to a mighty win at Ellerslie tonight.

Cambridge three-year-old Camino Rocoso took a positive step toward the Gr.1 Vodafone NZ Derby with a huge effort to clear maiden ranks at today’s Ellerslie twilight meeting.

“He’s a progressive type and we really like him as a Derby type,” said co-trainer Andrew Forsman in a pre-race interview.

That was a hint of the promise Camino Rocoso had shown Forsman and his senior training partner, Murray Baker, but even they didn’t expect the result produced in tonight’s Ezgo Golf Cart Rentals 1600.

Having his fourth start, the son of Shocking certainly showed his staying potential when forced to cover extra ground midfield from the outset in his first attempt at 1600 metres. He was never closer than three-wide and was four-wide across the top as he made his move on the leader.

He not only collared Marshall with 300 metres to run, he drew away to win by two and a quarter lengths, breaking 35 seconds for the last 600.

“From the awkward draw we were posted three-deep and I couldn’t get in so I decided to bite the bullet rather than working overtime to go forward,” said rider Craig Grylls. “He travelled really good under me and turning in I was pretty confident if he kicked on he would hold them out.

“He improved a lot of his last run. The way he races and his action he feels like he’s going to get over ground. He’s got a good action.”

Despite being unable to finish closer than fourth in three trials then unplaced in two juvenile starts, Camino Rosoco had shown Baker and Forsman enough promise in training to expect much improvement this season.

He looked on the right track when winning the second of his two trials this campaign and following up with a strong-finishing third behind Speedy Grey and Sacred Shot over 1400 metres at Te Aroha last month. But it was tonight’s effort which really stamped him as a serious Derby prospect.

“We’ve always liked the horse,” said Forsman. “I think we probably overplayed our hand with him as a two-year-old. He was just a bit immature.

“We gave him a couple of runs and were a bit disappointed. When they’ve got the ability there you’ve just got to be a bit patient and he’s really coming to it.”

Raced by a syndicate which includes his breeders, Camino Rocoso could have a freshen-up now before being set on a serious path to the $1 million Vodafone NZ Derby on March 4.

“There’s not a lot around for him now over ground so perhaps we’ll back off and head towards the Waikato Guineas and Avondale Guineas and that sort of path through to the Derby,” said Forsman.