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Chelmsford First-Up For Protectionist
Australian Bloodstock director Jamie Lovett has provided an update on Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist (Monsun-Patineuse, by Peintre Celebre) who is back in work with Newcastle trainer Kris Lees. Protectionist was diagnosed with severe bruising of the knee following a below par performance in the Sydney Cup in April, but Lovett says the early indications are that the German-bred stayer has fully recovered and is ready for the spring. "Couldn't be happier with him," Lovett told RSNs Shane Anderson yesterday. "He's going three-quarter pace, he's free in his action and appears to have taken no ill-effect from the injury he sustained in the Sydney Cup." He added: "This far out he's certainly not screwed down but he looks well in himself and he looks a bit brighter than he did [last preparation]." Lovett said the Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on 5 September had been identified as a potential starting point. "Hindsight's a wonderful thing but he was probably a bit flat going into last prep. At this stage Kris [trainer Kris Lees] is leaning towards kicking him off in the Chelmsford at Randwick," said Lovett. "We all forget that most of these [European] horses take six to twelve months to acclimatise...I know he came here and won a big race in the spring but he's probably only just getting that time now to really find himself, and to look at him he looks a happier horse as well."