KRIS Lees isn’t disappointed he hasn’t been able to win a race this autumn with either of his stable stars, Protectionist or Lucia Valentina.
“I think it is a reflection of the quality of the races both horses have run in,” the champion Newcastle-based trainer said on Thursday.
“With Protectionist, we had a suspicion he would need to get out to 2400m and further before he could be a winning chance.
“Lucia Valentina’s been racing well but the weight-for-age races she has contested have been outstanding. The competition has been tougher this autumn than last spring.”
But Lees has both stayers poised to return to winning form at Royal Randwick on Thursday.
It’s day two of The Championships and although the opposition remains as strong as ever, Lees believes Melbourne Cup hero Protectionist and dual Group 1 winner Lucia Valentina are in races where both can be very effective.
Protectionist, one of the world’s elite stayers, is out to 3200m for the $1.6 million Schweppes Sydney Cup, while Lucia Valentina takes on an elite field in the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Protectionist is on the third line of Cup betting at $5 behind the flashy Godolphin stayer Hartnell at $2.20.
On weights and measures, Protectionist faces a very difficult task to beat Hartnell on their recent clash in The BMW. Hartnell won The BMW as Protectionist worked home for fifth, two-and-a-quarter lengths separating the two stayers. Full Story Here