Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist and talented mare Lucia Valentina are both set to trial at Newcastle on Monday.
Protectionist has been included in the acceptances for the opening trial of the morning over 1200 metres and he will be making his first public appearance since his memorable four lengths victory in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4.
The Monsun entire will face stablemates Muttaburra, Sabiue and Sommernachtstraum in the barrier trial, while the field is rounded out by the unraced Regal Presence.
Trainer Kris Lees revealed last month that Protectionist would likely make the trip to Melbourne for the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28 and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 before returning to Sydney for the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28 and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (200m) at Royal Randwick on April 11.
Lucia Valentina has been included in the acceptances for the second barrier trial of the morning at Newcastle over 900 metres and she is set to take on stablemates Hera, Kissed By The Sun, Parraay and Selectify as well as Dylan Rocks, Slots, Strife and Whisperossa.
The Savabeel mare is set to return to racing in Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 14 and could go on to contest races like the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28, the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Lucia Valentina started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a most impressive victory in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and she scored a second win at Group 1 level in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
The four-year-old stormed home from the tail of the field to finish third behind Admire Rakti and Rising Romance in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18, but she was unable to run out a strong 3200 metres in the Melbourne Cup.
Protectionist is currently on the third line of 2015 Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting markets at a quote of $7.50, behind To The World ($5) and Adelaide ($6.50), while Lucia Valentina is available at a price of $13 to record a third victory at the highest level of racing.