Protectionist is set to kick off the defence of the his Melbourne Cup title in the Group 2 $250,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 5.
The winner of the 2014 Melbourne Cup under the care of German trainer Andreas Wohler is well into his preparation for the 2015 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3.
Protectionist was transferred to Newcastle trainer Kris Lees after his win in Australia’s most famous horse race and will head back to Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.
In early discussions with Lees, Jamie Lovett from Australian Bloodstock who head the syndicate that race the German stayer, has said that he is likely to commence his Spring campaign in Sydney before heading back to Melbourne.
“One option Kris has indicated is the Chelmsford in the first week of September, a mile race at Randwick, could be the likely race that he resumes,” Lovett told Racing Ahead’s The Thoroughbred on RSN on Sunday morning.
Since being transferred to Lees, Protectionist failed to run a place from four runs 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 Group 1 $1.6m Schweppes 150th Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 11.
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.
“He appears to have taken no ill-effects, he looks bright in himself. He’s probably going three-quarter pace at the moment of a morning.”
“He’s starting to get the pointy end where he’ll certainly be asked to do a bit more with a view to all being well.
“In the next month we’re going to know where we’re at with him as far as whether we push on to the spring, but at this stage there’s no reason to think we won’t be there come November.”
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.