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The Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) continues to look more likely as a first point of call for Melbourne Cup champion Protectionist this time in following an impressive barrier trial victory over 1200m at Newcastle on Monday morning.
Jumping from the gates well, Protectionist immediately settled within the field, settling into a good rhythm over the back straight and approaching the bend.
Pressing forward upon reaching the final straight, the Monsun entire found the fore of the pack around 200m from the post; hitting the line well and appearing to be building perfectly for the 2015 Autumn Carnival.
Understandably pleased with Protectionist’s continually building condition and form, trainer Kris Lees revealed he may now contest the same path as 2013 Melbourne Cup champion Fiorente through the 2014 edition of the Autumn Carnival, who took out the Peter Young Stakes a fortnight prior to winning the Group 1 Australia Cup (2000m).
“He’s likely to have an exhibition gallop at Newcastle in a couple of weeks (February 19) which will be his next public hit-out but at this stage we’re likely to head to the Peter Young,” Lees told Racing Victoria.
“If we do run him in the Australian Cup and he shows he’s sharp enough at 2000m then we may consider just going straight to the Queen Elizabeth (2000m).
“I was happy with his trial. He was out the back and made good ground from the 600 to the 200 without being knocked around. He had a good blow afterwards as expected, so considering he’s still a month away he’s in a good place.”
Finishing outside the places just once over his impressive ten start career so far, Protectionist began his racing career under the guidance of renowned German trainer Andreas Wohler; transferring to the care of Lees following his Melbourne Cup victory.
Finishing second in each of the Listed Preis von Dahlwitz (2011m) and Group 2 Preis Der Badischen Unternehmer (2212m) through the middle of 2014, the stallion out of Patineuse won both the Group 3 Hansa Preis and Group 3 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) in his final European appearances in June and August; placing a credible fourth in the Group 2 Herbert Power Quality (2400m) in what was his only other start prior to the Melbourne Cup.
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