2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist will undergo stratigraphy treatment today as concerns begin to mount that he has run his final race after pulling up with nasty abrasions to the fore and hind bumpers following the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Protectionist recorded one of the most impressive Melbourne Cup victories in recent years in November last year, but he was unable to replicate that sort of form over shorter distances in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m), Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) and Group 1 The BMW (2400m) during his autumn preparation.
Australian Bloodstock Director Jamie Lovett said that connections were happy with Protectionist heading into the Sydney Cup and the Monsun entire received a nice run into the race, but he was clearly under pressure a long way from home and could finish no better than seventh.
Lovett told Racing Ahead that Protectionist completely lost his action about 800 metres from home in the Melbourne Cup and he said that the imported stayer would undergo tests at the Royal Randwick equine centre today in an attempt to find out what caused the issue.
“I know that quite a few jumped off, but up until Saturday we were on target,” Lovett said.
“We sort of knew early in the piece and Andreas (Wohler) told us that he would take every bit of a mile and a half and after we worked him the first few times at home we knew that we would need those couple of lead-up runs, but he is in a bit of a bad way at the moment.
“He has gone down on all four bumpers and he is down at Randwick equine at the moment and he will have the stratigraphy today.
“We are a little bit concerned as to why that happened because he lost his action completely.
“We were happy with him going into the race and we were very happy with his BMW run, but obviously we are a little bit concerned at the moment as to what we are dealing with going forward.
“He has been a very sound horse and he hasn’t missed a morning.
“He is not lame, but he is not a happy horse.
“I have been talking to a lot of vets, Kris (Lees) and everybody involved in the stable and I’ve never seen a horse go down on all four bumpers.”
Protectionist represents a valuable stallion prospect on the back of his Melbourne Cup victory, but Lovett confirmed that Australian Bloodstock are keen to race the five-year-old on during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he is hopeful that the issue will not force an early end to the racing career of the German stayer.
“We just need to get to the bottom of it, but I hope not because up until Saturday he hasn’t disappointed us and we just really hope we get to see the best of him again,” Lovett said.
Protectionist is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $21 and is on the fourth line of betting behind Fame Game ($15), Hartnell ($17) and Contributer ($20).