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El Roca will be out to get his campaign back on track at Warwick Farm with NSW and Victorian stewards in conflict over the rule which led to his withdrawal from the Hobartville Stakes.

In addition to the colt being taken out of Saturday’s Group Two race by Racing NSW stewards, his trainer Trent Busuttin and vet David Garth were each fined $2000 for treatment given to El Roca the day before.

Under an Australian Rule introduced in September, horses cannot be treated with the alkalising agent used within a clear day of racing, meaning midnight Thursday was the cut-off point.

However under a Victorian Local Rule, the practice is allowed.

Both New Zealander Busuttin and Garth, who recently moved from Melbourne to Sydney, said they were unaware of the regulation and recorded the treatment as usual with no concerns it was illegal.

Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy says it is puzzling Victoria is not operating under the same rule.

“I am perplexed by it. The Australian Rule was introduced in September and published widely to trainers and vets,” Murrihy said.

“Victoria was a co-signatory and a co-drafter of the rule and it’s disappointing to see the Australian rule isn’t being administered.”

Murrihy said the stewards used their discretion to take the pre-post favourite out of the field, believing it would not be fair to other runners to allow him to race.

Busuttin copped the penalty on the chin and said El Roca would be nominated for the Group Three Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday, a week before the Group One Randwick Guineas (1600m).

“He will run in the Liverpool City Cup and then go to the Randwick Guineas on the seven day back-up,” he said.

“If he is as good as we think he is, he should be able to handle it.”

El Roca won the Listed Eskimo Stakes on February 15, defeating Dissident who won the Hobartville.

 
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