Broadmeadow trainer Kris Lees has ordered further tests for Protectionist after the German import failed dismally in the Group 1 $1.6m Schweppes 150th Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick last Saturday.
Protectionist stamped himself into Australian Horse Racing history with an empathic win in the 2014 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington when under the care of German trainer Andreas Wohler.
But the five year old stallion has failed to run a place from four starts since being transferred to Lees, including his last start when sixteen lengths seventh to Grand Marshall in the Sydney Cup on the second day of ‘The Championships’.
Protectionist was examined by the club’s vet immediately after the race and was listed in the stewards’ report as suffering from abrasions to the fore and hind bumpers.
The bumper is at the back of the fetlock joint just above the hoof and it can either be struck by the horses own hooves when galloping or can hit the ground which can be more prevalent on wet tracks.
“We’re sending him for scintigraphy tests in the next few days,” Lees told Racing.com.
“Hopefully it’s nothing serious.
“To rip your bumpers off like that – he’s never touched his bumpers before – it suggests he’s lost his action in some way, but what’s caused it we don’t know.
“If he’d never been on a wet track, you’d say it was the wet track – and I wish that was just the problem – but I’m expecting we’re going to find something a bit worse.
“They (abrasions) were a bigger than a 50-cent piece and it was on all four legs.”
“If you could imagine the worse blister you’ve ever had on your heel, he had them as big as a 50-cent piece on all four of his heels.”
“Hopefully it’s nothing major, but the scintigraphy will show up the problem.”
Scintigraphy is a highly sensitive form of nuclear medicine which scans horses for a variety of skeletal disorders and Lees is hoping this will produce some answers to Protectionist poor performances.
Protectionist kicked off his Autumn Carnival campaign with a sixth to Mourinho in the Group 2 $200,000 Crown Golden Ale Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28 followed by an eighth to Spillway in the Group 1 $1m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14.
A return to form looked likely when fifth to Hartnell in the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 28 before his latest effort in the Sydney Cup.