El Roca and Vanbrugh 3YOs star at Wanganui

By Richard Edmunds

7 Sep 2022

El Roca and Vanbrugh 3YOs star at WanganuiWestbury Stud stallion El Roca lands a black-type quinella with Rocababy and Romancing The Moon at W

The results of the Listed features at Wanganui on Saturday have added an early black-type glow to the seasons of young stallions El Roca and Vanbrugh.
The O’Learys Fillies Stakes was all about El Roca, whose daughters Rocababy and Romancing The Moon filled the quinella in the $65,000 feature. Just over an hour later, Vanbrugh sired his first stakes winner when Sheez Dominant turned the HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas into a one-horse race.
Vanbrugh, who won five races including the Gr. 1 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick before retiring to Windsor Park Stud in 2017, has now been credited with 10 winners from just 22 runners to date.
Prior to Sheez Dominant’s three-length romp last Saturday, the standout performer for the son of Encosta De Lago had been last season’s multiple Group Three placegetter Mustang Valley. Vanbrugh is standing for a service fee of $6,000 at Windsor Park Stud this season.
El Roca, meanwhile, is an increasingly accomplished member of the Westbury Stud roster. Rocababy became the seventh individual stakes winner for the Fastnet Rock stallion, with five of those progeny scoring black-type wins in the last 12 months alone – Lucky Patch, Mali Ston, Irish Girl, White Noise and Rocababy.
“El Roca did such a good job last season with his four stakes winners, and now for him to get straight back into it in early September with a black-type quinella from two new stakes performers is hugely exciting for us,” Westbury Stud general manager Russell Warwick said. “He’s continuing to go from strength to strength.
“He’s got a great following in Asia now too, thanks in large part to the two Group Two victories by Lucky Patch. He’s had five winners from only seven runners in Hong Kong.
“On home soil, he had a Group Two win last season with Mali Ston in the Rich Hill Mile, along with Group Three successes from Irish Girl and White Noise. We’ve already seen White Noise score an impressive win this season, and there are further black-type aspirations for him, so we’re hoping there’s even more to look forward to.”
El Roca himself was a Listed winner of the Northland Breeders’ Stakes at Ruakaka and the Eskimo Prince Stakes in Sydney, and he placed in the Gr. 1 Randwick Guineas and George Ryder Stakes. Since taking up stud duties at Westbury in 2015, he has sired 99 winners from 175 runners, and he will stand for a fee of $12,500 in 2022.
“He covered around 110 mares last year, and I’d say he’s on target for a similar sort of number this year,” Warwick said. “But if he keeps up this momentum, hopefully he might pick up a few more latecomers.”
The Wanganui quinella kicked off a big week for Westbury, who celebrated a big result across the Tasman later on Saturday evening as Gypsy Goddess – from the first crop of exciting stallion Tarzino – was named Australia’s champion three-year-old filly for 2021-22.
Meanwhile, this Saturday marks one of Westbury’s sponsorship highlights of the year, with the Tarzino Trophy at Hastings kicking off Group One racing for the 2022-23 season.
“We’ve been very spoiled with what Tarzino has done this year,” Warwick said. “He’s had a Derby winner (Jungle Magnate, South Australian Derby) and an Oaks winner (Gypsy Goddess, Queensland Oaks) in his first crop, and now he’s had the latter crowned champion three-year-old filly.
“There were only two New Zealand-breds among the award winners in Australia this year, her and Verry Elleegant, so she’s in pretty outstanding company.
“It’s a big week for us, with the Tarzino Trophy coming up on Saturday. It’s always a very special raceday for the team.
“With the dominance of the likes of Imperatriz and La Crique, and potentially a wet track, we may not see the field size that this race has often had in the past. But there are some very exciting horses in action, and I’m sure the result will live up to the high-quality honour roll that this race has enjoyed throughout its history.”