It has been 10 years since trainer Andreas Wohler was last in Melbourne for a spring carnival.
A previous visitor for the Cox Plate, the German trainer has his eyes set on the Melbourne Cup this year.
His smart galloper Protectionist makes his Australian debut in the Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday as a pipeopener to his main target on the first Tuesday in November.
Wohler prepared Silvano to finish fourth behind Northerly in the 2001 Cox Plate while Paolini was 10th to Savabeel in 2004.
But the Melbourne Cup has always sparked Wohler’s interest and he was determined to be part of the action when he found the right horse.
It was after a Group Two race at Baden-Baden in June, in which Protectionist finished second, that Wohler gave serious thought to a Melbourne Cup campaign.
“It’s something special,” Wohler said of the Melbourne Cup.
“I haven’t been before but I have watched the race on the television.
“Australian racing is huge. To enjoy the atmosphere, it’s fantastic.”
Wohler felt the Herbert Power was a good fit for Protectionist’s Melbourne Cup preparation and more suitable than racing a week later in the Caulfield Cup over the same course and distance.
The race will be Protectionist’s first on a tight-turning circuit, a factor Wohler admits is a slight concern, as is the horse’s topweight of 59kg.
“He’s never run on a track like Caulfield before – as tight a track and with so short a straight so he will have to accommodate that,” Wohler said.
“You always worry about the travel but he is good and we have had no setbacks with him.
“He looks well, he’s eating well and even his trackwork is fine.”
Craig Williams has the ride on Saturday and hands over to Ryan Moore in the Melbourne Cup.