A barrier trial at Cranbourne on Friday will determine the starting point for Noble Protector’s spring campaign.
The imported mare took an important step for the upcoming carnival with a jump-out at Sandown on Thursday under the guidance of race jockey Craig Williams.
She finished third in the 800m heat and trainer Robert Smerdon said he may step her up to 1200m at Cranbourne on Friday.
“It was good to have Craig on her,” Smerdon said.
“He gave us a good report.
“The two horses in front were quite sharp but a few strides after the post she’s run up past them and pulled up terrific.”
While he hasn’t locked in a program, Smerdon is considering the Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 12 as a kick-off point with the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 26 and the Toorak Handicap (1600m) on October 10 likely targets.
He said the Toorak could decide whether Noble Protector presses on to more Group One contests against the males or is brought back to mares company and aimed at the Group One Myer Stakes at Flemington on October 31.
Noble Protector has only had five runs since arriving in Australia from England and has won three times.
At her Australian debut she chased Contributor home over 2000m at Caulfield last October before running fourth in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.
Noble Protector returned in the autumn for a first-up Group Three win at Flemington followed by a Group Two win at Moonee Valley.
She went for a break after finishing third in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes won by Amanpour at Randwick in April.
“She had a light autumn having only the three runs,” Smerdon said.
“She could have trained on but the carnival was over so we sent her for a good break and brought her back for the spring.
“She’s done everything asked of her so far.”
Article from justhorseracing.com.au