Williams lands German star
CRAIG Williams has won the battle to ride last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist in at least the German import’s first two races back from a spell.
Williams has been booked for Protectionist’s first-up run in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28.
He will also ride the entire in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14.
Williams rode Protectionist to an eye-catch fourth in the Herbert Power Stakes in the lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup which was his last start. The horse was beaten less than a length.
Protectionist, which was previously trained by Germany’s Andreas Wohler and then transferred after the Cup to Kris Lees in Sydney, won a 1200m trial at Newcastle on Monday where he was ridden by Hugh Bowman.
Williams believes his previous ride on the horse and strong relationship with the owners, Australian Bloodstock and its manager Luke Murrell, helped him get the ride.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Williams said.
“It’s fantastic. After what we’ve seen of his two starts in Australia, including the Melbourne Cup, he is a very impressive horse and I’m delighted to get back on him.
“Everyone has seen how good he is.”
Williams said he had a good insight into the horse which put him a sound position to secure the rides.
He said while he’d confirmed for the first two rides, he hopes everything went well and he’d stay on for Protectionist’s Sydney campaign and Brisbane if they horse headed there.