Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist will be set for a likely racing return in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 5th, in the lead-up to his defence of the Race That Stops a Nation.
Protectionist stamped his claims as a standout thoroughbred upon debuting to Australian racing during the 2014 Spring Carnival; finishing fourth in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) first-up before posting an exceptional four length win in the Melbourne Cup.
Having transferred to the care of Kris Lees for his campaign through the recent Autumn Carnival, the Monsun entire failed to make anything of an impact through four starts; returning to the paddock after placing a disappointing seventh in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on Day 2 of The Championships.
Having been found to have sustained a minor ailment during the running of the Sydney Cup, Jamie Lovett of Australian Bloodstock (Protectionist’s owning syndicate) told RSN the rising six-year-old is in superb condition and is confident the 2015 Chelmsford Stakes figures as an ideal first point of call before heading to Melbourne.
“One option Kris has indicated is the Chelmsford in the first week of September, a mile race at Randwick, could be the likely race that he resumes,” Lovett said.
“He appears to have taken no ill-effects, he looks bright in himself. He’s probably going three-quarter pace at the moment of a morning.
“He’s starting to get the pointy end where he’ll certainly be asked to do a bit more with a view to all being well.
“In the next month we’re going to know where we’re at with him as far as whether we push on to the spring, but at this stage there’s no reason to think we won’t be there come November.”
Posting five wins and a further four minors through only fourteen career starts so far, Protectionist jumped clear favourite in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) first-up this year but was unable to produce anything of a kick and finishing sixth.
Progressing to eighth in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) a fortnight later, Protectionist showed some signs of improvement when fifth in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in his only other start prior to the Sydney Cup.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early 2015 Melbourne Cup odds, for which Protectionist can be taken at a quote of $21 for success.
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