Talented British import Noble Protector has stamped her claims as one to watch over the 2015 Australian racing calendar this afternoon; mustering an exceptional turn of foot in the final straight at Flemington to beat a handy field to the line in the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) by more than four lengths.
Jumping from the gates well, Craig Williams settled the daughter of Haafhd in prime position behind early leaders Street Allure and Choose who set only a fair temp away from the barriers and rounding the bend.
Arriving on the final straight at a jog, Williams steadily pushed Noble Protector to the fore of the field before charging clear, never appearing in doubt when closing the line well in the clear of Marianne and Group 1 winner Set Square.
Williams delivered a perfectly-timed ride on Noble Protector for success in the 2015 Schweppervescence Trophy and was thrilled to deliver trainer Robert Smerdon a black type victory.
“Robert Smerdon and team have done a great job; she’s first-up today at a mile,” Williams said.
“Because of the less prize money in England and set weight and penalties of this race, it means that she got here on a minimum and was going well enough to win the Blamey today.
“It was great to just use this race as the perfect thing to say that she’s really well placed. She won with sheer authority.
“We’ve been really happy with the way she’s been going and it’s a great result for Qatar (Bloodstock) and Robert Smerdon.”
Smerdon was pleased with Noble Protector’s first-up performance this afternoon and credited a return to the paddock after a long 2014 and time to adjust to the Australian way of going as key in the impressive win.
“I really think these international horses are better off a break, and she was at the tail-end of a long prep when she came here in spring,” Smerdon said.
“Craig Williams has ridden her a lot, in past work and in trials and he said that this feels like a different horse now she’s had the opportunity to settle in and he’s been really wrapped with her.
“She’ll get some firm tracks and I don’t know how far we go in the autumn, but I’d like to think we don’t go far and have a good crack at the spring.
“We’ll aim for the sky and hope hit the chimney.”