RUNNING HOT: Protectionist wins a barrier trial at Newcastle earlier this month.
RUNNING HOT: Protectionist wins a barrier trial at Newcastle earlier this month.

Cup winner Protectionist an unlikely starter for Sydney

MELBOURNE Cup winner Protectionist has been given top-weight of 58kg for the Group One Sydney Cup (3200m), to be run at Royal Randwick on Saturday, April 11.

The German-bred stayer carried 56.5kg when a dominant winner of the Melbourne Cup, and looks thrown in to repeat the dose in Sydney.

Betting agencies believe he is an unlikely starter, however, with Tattsbet quoting the five-year-old at the luxury odds of $7 to take out the staying double.

Second favourite is Melbourne Cup third-placegetter Who Shot Thebarman, who also looks well in at the weights with 54.5kg.

Of the 91 entries, 13 have been weighted above the minimum of 52kg, including three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux, who has been given 56.5kg.

Protectionist, highly impressive winning a 1200m barrier trial at Newcastle earlier this month, is set to resume in Saturday's Group Two Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.

New trainer Kris Lees said the son of Monsun was also nominated for the Group One Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14, although a start in that race was unlikely.

Lees has said the horse's primary target during his autumn campaign would be the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Sydney Cup day.

The early favourite for that race is Cox Plate winner Adelaide, which was yesterday allotted 57kg for the $3 million Doncaster Mile to be run at Royal Randwick on April 4.

Top weight for that race is the Chris Waller-trained Sacred Falls on 58kg, the five-year-old aiming to become the first horse to win the race three times.

Other leading hopefuls include Dissident, who was given second top weight of 57.5kg, and Epsom Handicap winner He's Your Man, who has to carry 55kg. Japanese gallopers World Ace and Real Impact have been allocated 55.5kg and 55kg, respectively.

The early favourite for the Doncaster is highly-impressive Sydney three-year-old Hallowed Crown, which has been handicapped on 52kg.


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