It has taken time, but punters are finally warming towards Protectionist for the Australian Cup.

The Melbourne Cup winner was friendless when betting opened, but online bookmaker reports strong backing for the stallion.

Protectionist is $5.50 second favourite for the Flemington Group 1. Happy Trails heads the chart at $4.50.

“Happy Trails was the best backed runner earlier in the week. However, it seems memories of Protectionist’s Melbourne Cup win are in play because they have come hard for him,’’ said’s Shaun Anderson.

In the Newmarket, Lankan Rupee ($3.50) is the best backed runner for the meeting. Chautauqua is an easing $2.90 favourite and support has come for Terravista ($6.00).

Here is where the money is going on the massive Flemington card:

An early upset is in the air in Race 1 with Results ($34) well supported in the opener.
It’s almost dollar for dollar between Sistonic ($3.80 favourite) and Royal Snitzel ($8.00) in Race 2. No love for Zeletto at $6.50.
A good go for Lazumba at $14 and Mr Optimistic at $34 in the Sires Produce. The $4.00 favourite Sampeah has been forgotten about.
The Blamey Stakes is wide open. It is dollar for dollar between Waxing ($14) and Guest of Honour ($9.00). Only a little bit of interest for Suavito at $2.35 but Smokin Joey ($4.40) is friendless.

Vezalay is the one they want in the Kewney Stakes at $7.50.

Set Square ($5.50) holds more money than every other horse put together in the Trophy. Bonaria ($5.50) the next best backed and a little bit of support for Fenway at $11.

Markets courtesy of Join Here.

Australian Cup

(Prices in brackets from Thursday 12 March)
$4.50 Happy Trails (steady)
$5.50 Protectionist (steady)

$10 Spillway (out from $9.00)
$10 Akzar (steady)

$10 Foreteller (steady)
$11 Mourinho (in from $13)

$13 Red Cadeaux (steady)

$15 The Cleaner (steady)
$16 Au Revoir (steady)

$21 Greatwood (in from $26)
$26 Entirely Platinum (steady)
$34 Puccini (out from $26)

Others quoted

Newmarket Handicap

$2.90 Chautauqua (out from $2.80)

$3.50 Lankan Rupee (steady)

$4.60 Brazen Beau (out from $4.50)

$6.00 Terravista (steady)

$21 Delectation (out from $17)

$21 Watermans Bay (steady)

$51 Driefontein (out from $41)

$51 Aeronautical (steady)

$81 Lord Of The Sky (out from $67)