German import Protectionist is progressing nicely on the training tracks as he heads towards his second Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.
Jamie Lovett from Australian Bloodstock, who head the syndicate that race Protectionist, has reported that the rising six year old year has recovered from injuries he received when seventh to Grand Marshall in the Group 1 $1.6m Schweppes 150th Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 11.
Trainer Kris Lees took over the training of Protectionist from German mentor Andreas Wohler after he won the 2014 Melbourne Cup and the Newcastle based trainer has been building his work load up heading into the upcoming Spring Carnival.
“He did three-quarter pace work this morning (Tuesday) at Newcastle and he looked terrific. He had a little blow afterwards and, although he hasn’t fully run along yet, he appears fine,’’ Lovett told the Herald Sun.
Protectionist already has had a preparation under Lees but failed to run a place from four starts during the 2015 Autumn Carnival.
And connections feared the worst when the Monsun stallion pulled up sore and distressed following a tough run on a rain affected track in the Sydney Cup.
The talented stayer was given a thorough and extension going over by the vets who determined that he had hyper-extended his knee during the race which was the reason for his poor performance.
“We thought he’d broken down, but X-rays showed he hyper-extended it,” Lovett said.
Lees took Protectionist back to Melbourne to kick off his Autumn Carnival program and he finished sixth to Mourinho in the Group 2 $200,000 Crown Golden Ale Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield and then followed that up with an eighth to Spillway in the Group 1 $1m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14.
The Melbourne Cup winner then headed to Rosehill for is final Sydney Cup lead up and ran an improved fifth to Hartnell in the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m).
Even though Protectionist failed to collect a major prizemoney cheque in the Autumn, Lovett said the syndicate was happy with his performances as he headed towards his major Autumn goal, the Sydney Cup over 3200m.
“We knew he needed the miles in his legs in his two Melbourne runs and then when he was beaten only two lengths in The BMW we thought he was spot-on for the race he’d been set for, the Sydney Cup,” Lovett said.
In early markets for the 2015 Melbourne Cup, Protectionist is currently listed at $21 with Ladbrokes.com.au alongside of Contributer, Signoff and Snow Sky.
Outstanding Japanese stayer Fame Game heads the betting at $13 ahead of Godolphin’s Hartnell and Australian Derby winner Mongolian Khan.