Protectionist: rejuvenated since returning to race in GermanyPICTURE: Getty Images
Protectionist makes all for Group 1 success
Report: Germany, Sunday
Hoppegarten: 126th Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo+
PROTECTIONIST (Andreas Wöhler/ Eduardo Pedroza) kept his unbeaten record in 2016 with a powerful performance to secure a first European Group 1.
The 2014 Melbourne Cup winner did it the hard way, making all the running. None of his opponents were inclined to lead and Pedroza decided to take matters into his own hands.
Protectionist usually comes from off the pace, and appeared at first slightly unhappy with the change in tactics, but Pedroza soon had him in a good rhythm.
"I always had a good feeling," said the Panamanian-born jockey, "and stepped up the pace coming into the straight, as I did not want to give the others a chance of outsprinting him."
Nightflower tried to mount a challenge at the two furlong marker, but Protectionist soon brushed her off and was in full control in the final stages.
Nightflower kept on for second, beaten two-and-a-half lengths, with Guignol third.
Jamie Lovett, representing owners Australian Bloodstock, said: "This is a very special horse and I have to thank Andreas Wöhler for a great job; we clearly made the right decision to send Protectionist back to Germany."
The trainer added: "He has really thrived back in his old familiar surroundings, and it has been a real team job to get him back to top form. The intention now is to run in the Grosser Preis von Baden in three weeks and after that we shall consider our options."
However another crack at the Melbourne Cup does not appear to be under consideration.