Last year’s Melbourne Cup winning German galloper Protectionist is a dual nominee on the Randwick race card this Saturday including holding an entry in the Tramway Stakes 2015.
Now prepared down under by Kris Lees, the Monsun six-year-old had an unremarkable autumn that finished with a Sydney Cup seventh from which he resumes this weekend.
The Newcastl-based Lees and connections have the stallion nominated for both the meeting’s feature race in the $250,000 Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) under weight-for-age conditions as well as the $175,000 Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m).
As a Melbourne Cup winner and the top rated of the 25 nominations Protectionist is sure to be heavily weighted in the Tramway Stakes, a set weights plus penalties feature.
The other highest-rated of the Tramway Stakes nominations this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival are Lees’ other nominee Lucia Valentina and the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Leebaz who own the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast in late April before a 14th in the Doomben Cup last start.
Lucia Valentina will defend her Tramway Stakes title if accepted into the field, the Savabeel mare having won the race first-up last spring before winning the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) in Melbourne two runs later.
She hasn’t won again since the Turnbull but was competitive in her autumn prep including a third in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) behind Contributer at Rosehill.
Another top mare set to return in the Tramway Stakes is the Bjorn Baker-trained Candelara, a four-year-old daughter of Real Saga last seen running third to Gust Of Wind in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) back in April.
She has since had two trials including a victory over Celtic Prince at Warwick Farm (1200m) last Friday.
Other mares in the mix include the John Thompson-trained Flight Stakes winner First Seal set to make her four-year-old debut having last been seen running sixth to Amanpour in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) in April and 2013 Crown Oaks winner Kirramosa for John Sargent.
Horses that boast a fitness edge with a lead-up run this season into the Tramway include last start Group 2 Warwick Stakes third placed Lonhro seven-year-old Messene, Helen Page’s Doncaster Mile fourth placed Queensland raider Rudy and last start Doomben winner Worthy Cause.
Other notable entries include the Gai Waterhouse-trained Ecuador, O’Shea’s Australian Derby runner-up Hauraki, Brisbane Cup runner-up Sense Of Occasion and the Chris Waller-trained veteran sprinter-miler Strawberry Boy.
See below for the full Tramway Stakes 2015 nominations, a race that could lead the winner into the $500,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) back at the track on September 19.
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2015 Tramway Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 05/09/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x10x86690x||ARABIAN GOLD||M||5||Gai Waterhouse||103|
|2||383x8431x7||BEST CASE (NZ)||G||5||Anthony Cummings||91|
|4||122x96834x||CELTIC PRINCE (NZ)||G||6||Bjorn Baker||93|
|5||x114x2614x||ECUADOR (NZ)||G||6||Gai Waterhouse||102|
|6||3136x5979x||FAMOUS SEAMUS (NZ)||G||7||Noel Mayfield-Smith||107|
|7||112x21226x||FIRST SEAL||M||4||John P Thompson||107|
|8||241411x82x||FLAMINGO STAR (GER)||H||6||Chris Waller||105|
|9||0x3439138x||GYPSY DIAMOND||M||5||Peter & Paul Snowden||100|
|11||1315x4700x||HOOKED||H||5||John P Thompson||103|
|12||73350x19x8||IT’S SOMEWHAT (USA)||G||5||John O’Shea||104|
|13||211x6650x5||KIRRAMOSA (NZ)||M||5||John Sargent||102|
|14||84x630210x||LEEBAZ (NZ)||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||108|
|15||130x49376x||LUCIA VALENTINA (NZ)||M||5||Kris Lees||109|
|17||117x299x53||MESSENE||G||7||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||108|
|18||0365236333||NEVER BACK DOWN||G||5||Jim & Greg Lee||61|
|19||1141x6857x||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||H||6||Kris Lees||114|
|21||036x12212x||SENSE OF OCCASION||G||5||Joseph Pride||95|
|22||1332x5611x||STRAWBERRY BOY||G||7||Chris Waller||106|
|25||36211375×1||WORTHY CAUSE||H||4||John Zielke||87|