Kris Lees to Train 2014 Melbourne Cup Winner Protectionist

After an emphatic four length Melbourne Cup 2014 win on Tuesday, German stayer Protectionist will stay on in Australia moving to Kris Lees’ Broadmeadow stables at Newcastle.


2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist will move to Kris Lees’ Newcastle stables in Sydney for an autumn campaign. Photo: Sarah Ebbett.

Currently prepared by Andreas Wohler, the Monsun stallion will now target the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival riches after becoming the first German-trained horse in history to win ‘The Race That Stops a Nation’.

In a patient and perfectly timed ride by gun, globetrotting jockey Ryan Moore the five-year-old found the gap over the closing 300m in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington and flew home.

On the line he had four lengths to spare over the now triple-Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux with Chris Waller’s Auckland Cup winner Who Shot Thebarman in a surprise third.

Lightly-raced with just 10 starts on his record, Protectionist boasts a 50% win rate having celebrated his fifth career win in the Melbourne Cup that boosted his total prize money to over $4 million.

He is a huge profile horse for Lees to welcome into his care, helping to ease the disappointment of yesterday’s Melbourne Cup result for the trainer who prepared 13th over the line with Caulfield Cup third placegetter Lucia Valentina.

“I’m very flattered to have been chose to train him,” Lees told AAP

“I just wish they had given him to me a week or so ago.

“I was only worried about my horse (Lucia Valentina) in the race, and she probably didn’t stay the trip.

While his mare didn’t see out the distance off a hot tempo, Lucia Valentina out in the paddock spelling, Lees was ultra-impressed with Protectionist’s Melbourne Cup win.

“He was devastating, he is a really serious horse,” he said.

“He came over, he had very good form overseas, but the beauty of him he is lightly raced and there is plenty of upside to him, hopefully.”

Connections, including Australian Bloodstock, could be in for even more riches next year with a host of suitable autumn classics open to the European expat.

“I’ve had a couple of meetings with him (Wohler), and he’s a lovely fella, and he’ll give me a run-down of what he has done with him,” Lees added.

“The beauty of him is he’s only lightly-raced, and he’s not like an older, exposed horse.”

Lees now plans to target the lucirative $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) run on Sydney Cup Day in April for Lucia Valentina when she returns.

“She’ll be aimed at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and given a very light autumn,” Lees said.

Protectionist was set for another shot over the distance in the $1 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on the same day but now Lees thinks he might be weighted out of contention.

“For him, I was thinking the Sydney Cup before today, especially with the $1 million for the winner. But he’s not a Sydney Cup horse now,” he said on Tuesday.

“To win (the Melbourne Cup) by four lengths…of course now the trick is trying to place him right.

“He will get weighted out of most things.

“He will probably have to take on the weight-for-age circuit.”

Of course a shot at going back-to-back in the world’s richest handicap is also on the agenda for Protectionist who will defend his title in the 2015 Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November next year.

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