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El Roca Closes Season out in Fine Fashion

2 August

Westbury Stud resident El Roca ended the 2020-21 season in style this afternoon when his daughter Ima Roca Bee claimed victory in the Listed Ryder Stakes at Otaki.

El Roca’s daughter picked a timely moment to shed her maiden tag, but it was far from a surprise after she had finished runner-up at her previous appearance in the Listed Castletown Stakes at Wanganui.

The now three-year-old filly settled at the tail of the field before improving wide across the top and produced a sustained finish in the straight to open her account.

Ima Roca Bee is trained by Karyn McQuade, who with husband Hamish bred and races the filly, and her faith in rider Erin Leighton was handsomely rewarded with the apprentice also celebrating her first black-type winner.

“We’re just thrilled with the win as she has showed us she has ability, but probably wasn’t quite there mentally early on,” Hamish McQuade said. “She just wanted to do everything at a million miles an hour and that was how she was in her first couple of starts.

“After she had a break, she settled down nicely and has come back really well. She has a deceptive appearance as she isn’t that big overall, but she has long legs and a really long stride.

“Erin gets on well with her and that was a top ride as she was patient and when she asked for an effort, the acceleration was there when she needed it.”

El Roca has been a favourite with breeders since the son of Fastnet Roca retired to Westbury Stud where he offers outstanding value at $8,000 + GST. His leading representative to date is the Group 1 Levin Classic winner Travelling Light.

His yearlings sold for up to $200,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale in January with Te Akau supremo David Ellis securing his top-priced lot, a colt from Anthology, as well as a filly from the Group 3 winner Underthemoonlight.

El Roca was an Australian stakes winner who also finished runner-up in the G1 Randwick Guineas and is closely related to the Champion Sprinter, multiple Group 1 winner and two-winner Everest hero Redzel.