2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist is among the nominations for the 2015 Group 2 $200,000 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Sixteen horses had been entered for the Group 2 weight for age event including Group 1 winners Happy Trails, Beaten Up and Sonntag.
Protectionist was transferred to Newcastle trainer Kris Lees after the German import won the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival for top European trainer Andreas Wohler.
Lees has been happy with the progress of Protectionist since he has been under his care and was pleased after the stallion won a 1200m Newcastle barrier trial with Hugh Bowman in the saddle on February 2.
“He didn’t have long off and we kept him in light work the whole way through,” Lees said.
“He is probably 15 kilos heavier than what he raced in the Melbourne Cup and he was out the back in the trial and made good ground from the 600 to the 150 and Hughie gave him an easy time from there.
“He won the trial and it was a nice enough trial and he had a really good blow after it.
“He (Bowman) said that he gave him a really good feel and he just coasted to the line.”
But Bowman won’t be aboard on Saturday with top Melbourne jockey Craig Williams picking up the ride in the Peter Young Stakes.
“It is great to be back on him for sure and I’m delighted to get the call up,” Williams said.
“I just want to get the right result for the horse and the owners.”
Protectionist is also among the nominations for the Group 1 $1m Australian Cup (2000m) on March 14 and a good performance in the Peter Young Stakes on Saturday will see the Monsun five year old return to Flemington before heading back to Sydney for ‘The Championships’.
The Paul Beshara trained Happy Trails is also being aimed towards the Australian Cup and will head to Caulfield on Saturday with one run under belt after finishing sixth to Dissident in the Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 14.
Chris Waller’s pair of Beaten Up and Bagman will appreciate the extra distance after both finished well down the track behind Dissident at Caulfield as will Queensland Derby winner Sonntag who is looking for further and will be better suited over the 1800m.
Peter Moody has nominated Au Revoir and Lidari while the Lindsay Park training partnership of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig has entered Jacquinot Bay and Spillway who finished a handy fifth in C.F. Orr Stakes.
Entirely Platinum from the Hawkes Racing stables has also been nominated for the Group 1 $400,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on the same program.