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07 Jul

Melbourne Cup 2016: Andreas Wohler bringing Articus and Red Cardinal for spring, with Protectionist still a chance

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Return?: Jockey Craig Williams with Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist. Photo: Vince CaligiuriThe spring team of Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett may yet include Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist, as Andreas Wohler begins to prepare Articus and Red Cardinal for Australian campaigns.

The Melbourne Cup-winning trainer will target the Caulfield Cup and Mackinnon Stakes with Articus, a group 2 winner in Germany, while Red Cardinal will come out to Australia attempting to earn a spot in the Melbourne Cup.

Australian Bloodstock completed purchasing the pair in recent times and Wohler, who is their main European trainer, is confident they will adapt to Australian racing and has booked them on the first shipment of horses to come for the spring.

“Articus ran fifth in a group 1 in Germany last start and we bought him after that and he has moved to Andreas’ stable,” Lovett said. “He believes that Articus will be the perfect Caulfield Cup horse and would love the pressure of the race and the circuit.

“With the Mackinnon being three weeks after it, he will target it as well, being a group 2 winner at 2100m.

“He will go into quarantine with Red Cardinal, which we bought before his third in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes. He is a lightweight Melbourne Cup chance. He would probably have to win a race like the Moonee Valley Cup or Geelong Cup to get a run in the Cup.

“They will both be on the first shipment of horses. We would have liked to run Red Cardinal in the Herbert Power Handicap but the way it is structured this year they don’t get out of quarantine until Caulfield Cup eve.”

Lovett also hinted that 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist could return to Australia if he doesn’t look like being a leading contender in the Arc de Triomphe.

“He is going to have another run next month in France in an Arc lead-up, our intention is to run in the Arc but if he doesn’t live up to expectations, the Melbourne Cup is still an option,” Lovett said.

“He has shown us enough by winning that group 1 in Germany he is worth a crack at an Arc and it would be a dream for us to have a runner in the biggest race in Europe.”

The first shipment of horses for the spring will include Royal Ascot winner Kinema, Scottish and Tryster, Godolphin’s Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate contenders, and several from Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard.

Racing Victoria’s international recruiter Leigh Jordon is hopeful Highland Reel, which was third to Winx in the Cox Plate last year and has since won the Hong Kong International Vase and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth might return.

O’Brien has the early Melbourne Cup favourite in Order Of St George, in which Lloyd Williams shares in the ownership, but a decision on whether he will head down to Australia will be made after the Irish St Leger.

“Aidan is still working out what he will be bringing but we expect him to have at least three on the first plane,” Jordon said. “He has plenty of options. There is a French stayer called Erupt, which could come out for the Caulfield and Melbourne cups.”

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