Protectionist produced an outstanding staying performance to record a most impressive victory in the 2014 Melbourne Cup at Flemington this afternoon.
The German stayer had his Melbourne Cup odds slashed after he made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing fourth in the Group 3 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) and the talented galloper justified the support in betting by scorching clear of the rest of the field in the final stages to to record a dominant five lengths victory from a typically gallant Red Cadeaux and Who Shot Thebarman.
Red Cadeaux looked as though he was finally going to record a maiden win in the Melbourne Cup when he hit the front at the 300 metre mark, but Protectionist showed an amazing turn-of-foot when asked for an extra effort to resign the popular stayer to a third second place finish in ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Protectionist looked as though he could be blocked for a run coming into the straight, but jockey Ryan Moore remained patient and tacked onto the back of Willing Foe before Protectionist exploded when he found clear running and was still pulling clear of the rest of the field on the line.
“He has won very easily and that is a very good horse,” Moore said.
“We didn’t have a lot of speed in us early on and we struggled to find a position, but he was able to follow Mutual Regard which got him going and once he got into the straight it was just about finding the splits.
“I had so much horse under me.
Moore recorded his maiden race win in Australia when he took out the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on Adelaide and the leading hoop was thrilled to add another major race to his racing resume especially after he came under fire for his previous rides in the race on Mount Athos in 2012 and Dandino in 2013.
“It is very special,” Moore said.
“I obviously have to thank Michelle at home with the kids because I have been away a lot and it is hard for her.
“I need to win these races to make it worthwhile and I am glad that I got the job done today.”
Trainer Andreas Wohler has won a number of major races right around the world and he has been one of the most successful trainers in Germany for a number of years, but he believes the Melbourne Cup victory may be the biggest win of his training career.
Wohler was quick to pay credit to the patient ride of Moore and also pay credit to the outstanding performance of Protectionist – who will now leave his care and remain in Australia as a member of the
“I have had great success all around the world, but that could be the biggest of all,” Wohler said.
“He was so patient; he couldn’t have the position that he would like to have, but he was so patient and when he came around that last bend he just needed to have the right gap and he found it.
“He quickened so well and Ryan is a superstar.
“He stays and he has a nice turn-of-foot, so we just needed a smooth run.”
Wohler elected to run Protectionist in the Herbert Power Stakes rather than the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the leading German trainer said that he was questioned about the decision, but was thrilled that his Melbourne Cup lead-up plan had paid off.
“The chairman couldn’t understand it because he ran there for $200,000 and another week later there was the $3 million Caulfield Cup, but now his knows why.
“It is a moment you won’t forget in your life, a big achievement for our team and thanks to the connections because it is a long way.”
Pre-race favourite Admire Rakti was settled just behind the speed in the early stages of the race, but was pulled up by jockey Zac Purton coming into the straight and tragically collapsed and died in his stall at the conclusion of the race.
Araldo stormed home late to finish a brave fifth in the 2014 Melbourne Cup, but he kicked a fence on his way back to his stall after becoming spooked and badly injured a hind leg. The High Chaparral entire has been taken to the Werribee Veterinary Clinic for treatment.