Protagonist will be the first to step out of the pair in the Sky High Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday, and Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett believes he is well-placed under the set weights and penalties conditions in the group 3.

“He had been on our radar for a while, and we finally bought him after his last run at York [where he was a runner-up],” Lovett said. “We thought he would be the perfect horse for out here, and his rating in winning at Sandown in August would have him sit comfortably in group 3 company here.

“The good thing about him is he has handled firm ground in races that have been run at good pace, and he has only been in handicaps in England.

“We had been talking to William about him and, when we got him, we sent Earl Of Tyrone, who we got at the Tattersalls sale, to come out with him for the Sydney Cup.

“It’s going to be an exciting next month or so with both of them because they have settled in well and we expect them to run good races.”

Protagonist was well backed in pre-post Sky High market where opened $11 and was a $5.50 second pick behind emerging stayer King Frankel at $4 once the field was declared.

The familiar Australian Bloodstock silks will play a major role in The Championship with Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip to target next month’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Lovett said the path to the Queen Elizabeth has not been set in stone. Next week’s Ranvet Stakes or the Australian Cup at Flemington a week later could be Gold Trip’s next assignment.

“We will sit down with Ciaron [Maher] in the next couple of days to decide which would be the better lead-up to the Queen Elizabeth,” Lovett said.

“He is favourite for both races now, and the Ranvet without Anamoe is a good option.

“If he runs there, he would definitely run in the Tancred as well because 2400m at weight-for-age is a perfect race for him.

“But we could stay in Melbourne and run for $3 million in the Australian Cup. The choice comes down to what is the best option to get him to the Queen Elizabeth at his best.”

Smh 2023

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