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Early Signs Good For Protectionist
Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist (Monsun-Patineuse, by Peintre Celebre) will undergo a vet examination next week that will determine the German-bred stayer's immediate program moving forward, reports Racing.com. Scintigraphy scans revealed the son of Monsun had suffered bone bruising in his knees following his disappointing performance in the Sydney Cup in the autumn, but trainer Kris Lees says the early signs are encouraging. "He seems well, [but] it's still early days," Lees told RSN radio yesterday. "He's probably into his fourth week now. He's done some light work on the water-walker and treadmill at our farm and he's been back at Broadmeadow now for three days and he's trotting and cantering." He added: "He'll go down for reassessment to Randwick Equine early next week and after that hopefully he gets the all clear and we'll start increasing his workload. The next test will tell us how we train him going forward, but he's quite sound under saddle, so I'm expecting business as usual." Lees is yet to decide on a spring program for Protectionist, but says he will be giving the European galloper plenty of time between runs. "I'd prefer to keep his races more spaced than what we did in the autumn," Lees said. "I think the horse prefers that little bit of gap between runs, which was obvious with his Spring campaign. We still haven't settled on a confirmed plan yet." He added: "He may start off in NSW with a race like the Chelmsford Stakes or come straight to Victoria."