Kris Lees’ German import and reigning Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist returns to racing on Saturday as the headline acceptor for Caulfield’s Peter Young Stakes 2015 on Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
Due to jump at 4:35pm (AEDT) as Caulfield Race 6, this year’s weight-for-age $200,000 Group 2 Crown Golden Ale Peter Young Stakes (1800m) features a classy field of 13 stayers.
Wearing the number one saddlecloth and drawn in gate seven for jockey Craig Williams is resuming Monsun stallion Protectionist, the five-year-old entire racing for the Newcastle-based Lees for the first time.
The former German-trained champion won the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington last November at just his second start down under and is after more success in Victoria this autumn.
His first major aim, for which he is the dominant $3.60 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win, is the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14.
Last year the 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente successfully came back in the autumn to win the Peter Young Stakes and then the Australian Cup.
Now Protectionist is out to do the same this year starting on the weekend.
Lees however said if the $4 million earner isn’t up-to-scratch over the middle distance of the Peter Young Stakes he would abandon plans to run in the Australian Cup next month and instead focus on the $1.6 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick during April’s The Championships.
Drawn one outside of Protectionist in barrier eight is then the Paul Beshara-trained triple Group 1 winner Happy Trails.
A seven-year-old son of Good Journey, Happy Trails has a history of scoring upsets in big races and is often overlooked in the markets.
The latest of his three Group 1 wins achieved over the past three seasons was at Flemington on Derby Day where he beat the Chris Waller-trained He’s Your Man by the narrowest of margins in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) in November.
He returned in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 14 and was the only horse in the field making ground on the Peter Moody-trained winner Dissident over an unsuitably short distance.
Happy Trails flew in a Tuesday track gallop with Damien Oliver, in the saddle for Saturday, and Beshara is full of pre-race confidence.
In barrier six for Moe-based trainer Peter Gelagotis is the in-form Mourinho who won the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) first-up at Moonee Valley last month.
Seventh to Happy Trails in the Mackinnon during the spring, fellow seven-year-old Mourinho also ran in the CF Orr Stakes and caught the eye crossing under two lengths away third.
He’s yet to win at Caulfield from six previous starts and hasn’t finished in the money in either of his previous two 1800m runs but is a classy galloper with claims for a top three run.
Another in-form hopeful with the edge fitness-wise for this year’s Peter Young Stakes is the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Jacquinot Bay drawn out in barrier 10 for hoop Mark Zahra.
Lindsay Park’s Galileo seven-year-old has run first or second in all five of his most recent runs over the summer including three straight Melbourne wins.
His last start was here at Caulfield a fortnight ago when Michael Walker rode him for a close second just a nose off the winner Smokin’ Joey in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m).
Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller has two Peter Young Stakes hopes this weekend saddling up Bagman and Beaten Up from barriers three and four respectively.
Both proven stayers were unplaced in the CF Orr Stakes with eight-year-old Bagman crossing 12th and his Doomben Cup winning stablemate Beaten Up running 14th.
Other notable Peter Young Stakes hopes including Peter Moody’s returning Group 2 Zipping Classic winning French import Au Revoir, CF Orr Stakes fifth placed Spillway also representing Lindsay Park and Perth raider Real Love who won the Group 2 Perth Cup on New Year’s Day.
See below for the full Peter Young Stakes 2015 field, barriers and jockeys.
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2015 Peter Young Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 6 (4:35pm) – 28/02/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||31x221141x||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||Kris Lees||Craig Williams||7||59kg||116|
|2||x5820561x6||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Damien Oliver||8||59kg||113|
|3||6x12317x13||MOURINHO||Peter Gelagotis||Vlad Duric||6||59kg||107|
|4||0x544260x9||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||1||59kg||105|
|5||2650521112||JACQUINOT BAY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Mark Zahra||10||59kg||103|
|6||4311335×70||BAGMAN||Chris Waller||Glen Boss||3||59kg||104|
|7||9021x42x80||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller||Steven Arnold||4||59kg||108|
|8||x426x4381x||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||11||59kg||107|
|9||22145×5255||AKZAR (IRE)||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||2||59kg||103|
|10||31211x18x0||SONNTAG||Henry Dwyer||Chad Schofield||5||59kg||102|
|11||39x16800x0||STAR ROLLING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Stephen Baster||12||59kg||102|
|12||1x247844x5||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||9||59kg||103|
|13||23×2121110||REAL LOVE||Adam Durrant||Damian Lane||13||57kg||99|