Melbourne Cup champion Protectionist may follow the path of his predecessor and resume in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28, reports Racing Victoria.

The race was the same used to successfully launch 2013 Melbourne Cup winnerFiorente’s autumn campaign, before he also went on to add the $1 million Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington two weeks later.

Trainer Kris Lees said the Australian Cup was also being strongly considered for Protectionist but that he is mindful the German import has never raced with only two weeks between runs before.

Happy with the five-year-old’s effort to win a trial over 1200m at Newcastle on Monday, Lees said the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in April could be Protectionist’s only start in Sydney this autumn.

“He’s likely to have an exhibition gallop at Newcastle in a couple of weeks (February 19) which will be his next public hit-out but at this stage we’re likely to head to the Peter Young,” Lees said.

“If we do run him in the Australian Cup (2000m) and he shows he’s sharp enough at 2000m then we may consider just going straight to the Queen Elizabeth (2000m).

“I was happy with his trial. He was out the back and made good ground from the 600 to the 200 without being knocked around. He had a good blow afterwards as expected, so considering he’s still a month away he’s in a good place.”

WATCH: Protectionist's Melbourne Cup win



Lees was similarly pleased by the effort of Turnbull Stakes (2000m) winner Lucia Valentina, who finished fifth in the second trial of the morning over 900m.

He said the four-year-old was on track to resume in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday week, with her main target the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at the same track in April.

“She hasn’t done a lot of work but she trialled well in a pretty slick trial against some genuine speedsters,” Lees said.

“She was a little out of her comfort zone but she tracked into the trial nicely and wasn’t knocked around.”