Protectionist owners to put Melbourne Cup on public display in Newcastle Jockey Club

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4 Dec 2018

WINNERS: Protectionist owners Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell with trainer Andreas Wohler at a media conference in Melbourne. Pictures: Getty ImagesTHE 2014 Melbourne Cup trophy and winning horse Protectionist will both call the Hunter home by the weekend.

Part-owners Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell, directors of the Australian Bloodstock thoroughbred racing syndicate that owns the German-bred champion, were due to bring the $175,000, 18-carat gold Hardy Brothers trophy back with them on Wednesday night.

It will do the rounds of family, friends and other owners in the next few weeks before being shown off to the public at Newcastle Jockey Club later this month.


Murrell said German trainer Andreas Wohler wanted to see how Protectionist settled at Werribee on Wednesday before handing the reins to Newcastle-based trainer Kris Lees, who will continue to oversee the five-year-old stallion’s preparation at his Broadmeadow stables.

‘‘The horse will probably be up there some time in the next 72 hours, but he’s pulled up really well,’’ Murrell told the Newcastle Herald from Melbourne on Wednesday.

WINNERS: Protectionist with strapper Lisa Kruellmann at Werribee on Wednesday. Pictures: Getty Images

A little rough around the edges after a night of celebrations and precious little sleep, Murrell and Lovett spent much of Wednesday fulfilling various media commitments in Melbourne.

‘‘We’d rather be doing this than be at home kicking the cat and wondering what could have been, so it’s terrific,’’ Murrell said.

Having cancelled their return flights to Newcastle, Murrell said they were scheduled to fly to Sydney on Wednesday night then drive back to their respective homes ‘‘and start getting back to normal life again’’.

‘‘Even just walking up the street today, we had people saying, ‘Oh, you just won the Cup,’ and different things like that, but we’re just a couple of hillbillies from Newcastle, so it’s been an interesting experience the whole thing,’’ Murrell said on Wednesday.

‘‘We’ll probably do something at the jockey club in the next few weeks and open it up if people want to come and get some photos with it, but it’s had plenty of different liquids in it overnight so it doesn’t smell real good at the moment.’’

Just as Lees has taken over from Wohler as trainer, Australian Bloodstock assumed full ownership from German Christoph Berglar as Protectionist crossed the line on Tuesday. The arrangement had been 50-50, but Berglar agreed to sell his share to the Rutherford-based syndicate, and the final details of that transaction are in the process of being finalised.

Plans are already in place for the horse to return to Flemington next year for a crack at a second Cup.

It could be joined by Terrubi, a four-year-old French stayer Australian Bloodstock purchased recently. Having won four times in nine starts, Terrubi is trained in Sydney by David Payne and is being prepared for The Championships next autumn.

Long-time Hunter racing commentator and form analyst Gary Harley said Australian Bloodstock’s success in such a short time had been nothing short of remarkable.

A former first-grade player for Lakes United and Wyong, Belmont-based Lovett is a director of the Global Property International real estate group. Murrell, a former first-grade cricketer in Maitland, is a financial planner based in Aberglasslyn.

The two men joined forces in September 2010 to form Australian Bloodstock and since then have produced three Melbourne Cup runners.

Illustrious Blue ran ninth in 2010, Lucas Cranach finished third in 2011 and Protectionist blew the field away on Tuesday to win by four lengths.

‘‘It’s an amazing achievement, that these two blokes in only four years have formed Australian Bloodstock and had three Melbourne Cup runners,’’ Harley said.

‘‘One of those has run third and now Protectionist has won so convincingly.

‘‘They’ve had a number of other smart horses as well that have won some big races, and they’re involved in other areas of the community through sponsorship and charities.

‘‘They began a sponsorship at Newcastle Jockey Club six months ago, and in September they raised almost $25,000 through a race day for the Mark Hughes Foundation, so it’s great to see a couple of local blokes doing so well,’’ Harley said.

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