2015 Australian Cup Distance Still Too Short for Protectionist

March 11, 2015

2015 Australian Cup Distance Still Too Short for Protectionist

Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist may be up in distance off his first-up run last month, but trainer Kris Lees is still concerned he needs further than the 2000m of Saturday’s Australian Cup 2015.


Protectionist is a vulnerable 2015 Australian Cup favourite over 2000m at Flemington this weekend according to trainer Kris Lees. Photo: Steve Hart.

The Monsun stallion returns to Flemington Racecourse where he thrashed his rivals in the ‘race that stops a nation’, five-year-old Protectionist winning last November’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) by four lengths.

He was still prepared by Germany’s Andreas Wohler during the spring, but is now prepared at Newcastle by Broadmeadow’s Kris Lees.

The import debuted for Lees on February 28 at Caulfield in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) where he ran sixth to Mourinho as the beaten favourite.

Lees had warned punters off his star stayer leading up to the Peter Young because of the unsuitably short distance, and has issued a similar warning leading into this weekend’s $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).

“(I am) still very guarded about the 2000m distance,” he told the Herald Sun on Tuesday.

“He looks every bit like he wants a mile-and-a-half (2400m) and once he gets to that trip I’ll go into a race with a lot more confidence.”

There are 37 horses nominated for this year’s Australian Cup, the field out this morning, including Protectionist who will face off against a number of the horses who beat him home first-up.

The Peter Young Stakes trifecta is all nominated with the Peter Gelagotis-trained Mourinho looking for the double, runner-up Happy Trails looking to peak third-up and win for the first time since his Mackinnon Stakes victory last November, and the Darren Weir-trained third placed veteran Akzar looking for another big run after bypassing Monday’s Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m).

While Protectionist’s record shows a win over the mile, the horse hasn’t won over less than 2200m since 2012.

The bookies are taking no notice though with the galloper still sitting top of the Australian Cup betting markets, despite Lees talking down his chances.

Protectionist worked over 2000m at Caulfield on Monday morning, completing his final 400m sectional in 25 seconds ahead of the Australian Cup and looks in top condition.

Lees though is more confident another Group 1 win will come for the champion when he goes to Sydney later this autumn targeting the $1.6 million Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) back up over two miles at Randwick on April 11 during The Championships.

“He is in good order, make no mistake, but I know how good he is at 3200m and I suspect he will hit his straps over 2400m and above,” Lees said.

“So Sydney will probably be his best chance (of winning a race) this campaign.”

Protectionist leads current 2015 Sydney Cup odds at $4.60 through Ladbrokes.com.au, a similar price to what is being offered for him over less distance this weekend.

To back your Australian Cup favourites at the right price this weekend visit Ladbrokes who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on your winnings in the race!

Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2018 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.

Spring Racing

Rogerson Dreams of 2018 Melbou...

The Everest 2018 Field to Feat...

The Everest 2018 Field to Feature Redzel

Inaugural champion Redzel has officially secured his position in the 2018 The...

2018 The Everest Field Takes S...

2018 The Everest Field Takes Shape: In Her Time Confirmed

She missed out on a shot at the world’s richest race on turf last spring but...

Trapeze Artist Secures 2018 Th...

Trapeze Artist Secures 2018 The Everest Slot for Aquis

The first official slot in The Everest 2018 field has been confirmed with...

El Dorado Dreaming of 2018 VRC...

El Dorado Dreaming of 2018 VRC Oaks Bid

Ben Smith’s ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes winning filly El Dorado Dreaming is in...

Horse Racing Today

BRC Sires’ Produce Stake...

Waller contemplating blinkers ...

Waller contemplating blinkers for 2018 Queensland Oaks favourite Youngstar

Trainer Chris Waller will decide before final acceptance time on Wednesday...

Waller to have multiple runner...

Waller to have multiple runners in 2018 Queensland Oaks

Recently inducted Hall Of Fame trainer Chris Waller is likely to have multiple...

McDonald to team up with Care ...

McDonald to team up with Care To Think in the 2018 Kingsford-Smith Cup

James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return to the Group 1 winner’s stall...

2018 Doomben Cup winner Comin&...

2018 Doomben Cup winner Comin’ Through beats stablemate Egg Tart

The Chris Waller trained Comin’ Through claimed his first Group 1 victory when...

Race Results

Viewed Victorious in Caulfield Cup

Race 1 Result – $101 500 AGL Renewable Energy Stakes – She’s Got Gears Wins

Race 2 – $101,500 Schiavello Plate – Avienus Wins

Race 3 – $101 500 Lavazza A Modo Mio – Linton Street Wins

Race 4 Results – $151,500 Listed Herald Sun Stakes – Strawberry Field Wins

Race Previews

2009 Caulfield Cup Barrier Draw Announced

Who Are the Top Contenders for Tomorrow’s Caulfield Cup?

Victoria Derby in sight for Onemorenomore

2009 Melbourne Cup Field

Eclipse Stakes Final Field & Preview

Fields & Form

Can Kelinni Win Sydney Cup 2013 for the Punters?

Moroney Gets into Queensland Derby 2013 Rhythm

Buffering Draws 7 – 2013 BTC Cup Final Field and Barrier Draw

SA Fillies Classic 2013 Field Released

13 two-year-olds in 2013 Champagne Classic Field