Fresh off the news that Kris Lees was leaning towards an Australian hoop to partner Protectionist in his first autumn campaign down under, the horse’s owners Australian Bloodstock has announced the prestigious job will go to Craig Williams.
It’s an obvious choice considering Williams previously rode Protectionist in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on October 11 before British jockey Ryan Moore took over the reins for the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
As we’re all well aware by now, the five-year-old entire absolutely dominated the $6.2 million race, well and truly stopping the nation as he put a massive margin on his 22 rivals once in the clear to win by four lengths.
When the horse’s connections decided to keep him in Australia for the spring, Lees took over the training from Andreas Wohler. He opted to give Protectionist help from a local jockey as he bids for races the likes of the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) or the $1.5 million Group 1 BMW (2400m).
“It is great to be back on him for sure. I’m delighted to get the call up,” Williams told TVN.
“I just want to get the right result for the horse and the owners.”
Protectionist is set to resume in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28 following an impressive jumpout on Monday. After that Lees will determine whether the horse should remain in Melbourne and contest the 2015 Australian Cup at Flemington too weeks later or travel to Sydney for the 2015 BMW at Rosehill on March 28.
“If he charges to the line in the Peter Young and we think he’s going to be effective at 2000 (metres) then we will go into the Australian Cup, but if we think he’s looking for a trip we will back off and probably go to a BMW,” Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett said.
Whether he ends up, there’s sure to be plenty of fanfare revolving around his autumn runs with punters keen to see if the horse can replicate his Melbourne Cup performance.
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