Kris Lees duo impress at barrier trials

Protectionist2014 MELBOURNE CUP winner Protectionist and stablemate Lucia Valentina have impressed in their respective barrier trials at Newcastle on Monday.

Lees didn’t give too much away, but was upbeat about Lucia Valentina’s effort.

“Protectionist was satisfactory, Lucia Valentina really nice,” Lees said.

Protectionist won its 1200 metre trial after coming wide in the straight, beating Nevagotavote by a half-length.

“Protectionist had to make a long run and when he got to the front he probably idled a bit,” Lees said.

“He got to them a bit quickly, I would have liked him to finish it off a bit better, but he is a stallion and it was more a fitness thing.

“I thought it was satisfactory for where he is at – we are targeting one race [Melbourne Cup] for him this spring.”

Protectionist will resume in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick on the same day Lucia Valentina kicks off in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes.

“I was very happy with Lucia Valentina’s trial,” Lees said.

“They were getting along a bit, but she tracked up well and got to them easily, then levelled out the last 50 metres or so.”

Lucia Valentina is currently paying $26 to win the 2015 Cox Plate with bookmaker

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