Cambridge colt rocks them in Sydney

Smart Cambridge three-year-old El Roca has begun his latest Australian campaign in the best possible fashion.

After being unlucky not to win his two Melbourne starts during the spring, El Roca showed he is on track to make the Australians really take notice this autumn when winning the Listed A$125,000 Eskimo Prince Stakes at Rosehill yesterday.

Ridden by Hugh Bowman, El Roca stretched out nicely over the final stages to beat the second favourite Dissident by two lengths. It was Bowman’s first ride on El Roca but he is no stranger to big-race success for the three-year-old’s trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young having won the 2011 Victoria Derby on Sangster.

“I know how good he is but you like to see them do it, especially over here,” Busuttin told the Australian media after the race. “He didn’t get his chance in the Caulfield Guineas and I admit I sulked for a bit.

“I would like to think he can get over a distance. His pedigree says a mile pulls him up so we’ll see. It’s all about getting a Group One with him.”

El Roca created a big impression in New Zealand when winning his first two starts, including a Listed event at Ruakaka, then finished second to Éclair Big Bang in the Gr. 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude when set alight too soon by rider Craig Newitt.

He then copped a rocky run when fifth behind Long John in the Gr. 1 Caulfield Guineas and Long John went on to win first-up in Dubai last weekend.

The Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) is the first of three races programmed for El Roca. The next one is the 1400-metre Hobartville Stakes and provided he performs well he will then run in the Gr. 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).