Protectionist rolls in tragic Melbourne Cup

November 09, 2014 01:50pm
Protectionist Melbourne Cup 615 X 400
Photo: Flemington Racecourse


In a race that stopped two nations, German invader Protectionist absolutely ran away from 21 others to streak to a four-length victory in the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup.

One part staying power, and one part turn of foot, Protectionist could not have been more impressive down the Flemington stretch, but early on he was nowhere to be found among the early leaders. The bay colt sat back in the large field as the filly My Ambivalent set down a demanding early pace for the first part of the two-mile trip of Australia’s most famous race. As the race favorite Admire Rakti stalked those fast fractions, Moore and Protectionist bided their time closer to the back of the pack than the front, waiting to make their run.

As the field negotiated the final turn at Flemington, the speed began to back up, and it briefly looked like the globetrotting warrior, Red Cadeaux might finally have his day in the Melbourne Cup. The eight-year-old gelding hit the front with some authority, but the lightly raced German colt was quickly picking off horses in the middle of the pack. Weaving through horses like one who could not be stopped, Protectionist burst through an opening, and in a matter of seconds, he shot from sixth to first. With a furlong still to run, the only question was by how much the son of Monsun would hit the wire in front.

For the runner-up, it represented his third second place finish in four tries in the Melbourne Cup. He was followed to the wire by Who Shot Thebarman and Signoff for third and fourth respectively. Admire Rakti had nothing left for the stretch drive and faded to last.


In heartbreaking news, the Japanese favorite, Admire Rakti, collapsed and died in his stall soon after the race.


Another Melbourne Cup runner, Araldo, had to be euthanized after breaking a leg when he was spooked and kicked a fence returning from the race.

The victory aboard Protectionist gave star English rider Ryan Moore a rare Australian double of the nation’s two biggest races, the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup, having won the former aboard Adelaide ten days earlier. He became the first rider to do so in more than 20 years. Moore had spent the weekend in California riding in the Breeders’ Cup.

In winning the fastest Melbourne Cup in a dozen years, the four-year-old German-bred won for the 4th time in just 10 starts. Trained by Andreas Wohler, Protectionist had won his last two starts in Europe, a pair of Group 2 stakes in Germany and France, before arriving in Australia to prepare for the big one. In his only prep down under, he ran a close up fourth in the Group 2 Herbert Power at Caulfield just over three weeks ago. That was just a prep, though, and today at Flemington, Protectionist proved that he is one of the finest stayers on the planet.

Like Adelaide, the three-year-old Irish colt who won the Cox Plate, Protectionist will now stay in Australia. He will move to the Kris Lees barn, where he will no doubt be pointed for another run at the Melbourne Cup in 2015. 


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Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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