A proven performer over track, distance and at the grade, trainer Robert Smerdon is confident classy British import Noble Proctector will return to peak condition on Friday’s 2015 Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) following a disappointing first-up run.
Jumping from the gates well in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) on September 12th, jockey Craig Williams settled Noble Protector in prime position on the heels of the race’s early leaders and received a good run in transit, but failed to make anything of a final straight sprint and faded for 13th.
Having won the Group 2 Sunline Stakes over the Moonee Valley 1600m course, Smerdon is confident Noble Protector will perform to a high standard in the 2015 Stocks Stakes, and will dictate her own path through the remainder of the Spring Carnival.
“It wasn’t the right distance and the circumstances didn’t play out right for her on the day but she still ran below expectations,” Smerdon told Racing Victoria.
“She’s had a good gap between runs and she’s bounced back really well and I’d be more inclined to look at her previous form in the autumn than her first-up run in the Let’s Elope.
“She’s still in the Cox Plate and we’ll be guided as to whether she presses on to a race like that based on how she goes on Friday but I think she’d need to win.”
Noble Protector has posted an impressive five wins and six minors through fifteen career starts so far; beginning her career under the guidance of William Kittow in Britain before transferring to the care of Smerdon prior to the 2014 Spring Carnival.
Debuting in Australia for a close second in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) and returning to the paddock after placing fourth in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m), the Haafhd mare returned this year for success in the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) prior to her Sunline Stakes triumph; progressing to third in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) in what was her only other autumn start on April 11th.
Included amongst a talented list of 13 nominees this morning, Noble Protector is expected to be confirmed in the 2015 Stocks Stakes final field following Wednesday’s barrier draw.
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