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Australia Cup Still Goal For Protectionist
Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist is still on track for the Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington in a fortnight (14 March), despite a below par first-up run in the Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday, reports horseracing.com.au. Protectionist was heavily backed to start a $2.90 favourite for the Gr2 feature in what was his first outing since winning Australia's most famous race in the spring. But the German-bred stayer never looked likely, settling well back in the field before making some late headway to finish sixth, some 4-lengths off the winner Mourinho. "He went from third last to last on the corner and was good late,'' trainer Kris Lees told the Herald Sun. "I don't think Caulfield suits him and we are taking that into account." Lees hopes a return to the scene of his greatest triumph, as well as a slightly longer trip (2000m), will assist Protectionist next time out. "The Australian Cup is on a bigger track, which should suit, as will the little bit further distance, but it may still be too short. That's the real concern," Lees said.