Mick Burles‘ in-form five-year-old The Cleaner has earned a shot at making the Caulfield Cup 2012 field this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival after the Tassie galloper scored an impressive win at Sandown on Thursday.
Posting their ninth career win from 18 starts, and their third from four runs since the start of July, the Savoire Vivre gelding caught the eye when putting an easy one and three quarter lengths on the Robbie Laing-trained Scelto after leading all the way in the Metro Solar Handicap (2100m) in just their second interstate assignment.
“He was pressured all of the way but the others couldn’t get anywhere near him at the finish,” Burles said.
“He’s got such a high cruising speed and the thing is, once he gets going, he goes to sleep.
“He just switches off and you’ve got to give him a smack across the bum 600 metres out to wake him up.”
The horse ran second to Banca Mo in their Melbourne debut at Moonee Valley on August 4 and showed nice improvement on that run to take out the mid-week feature at Sandown yesterday.
Winner of the Brighton Cup – Longford Cup double back home in Tasmania during the summer, The Cleaner has been given a very ambitious aim by Burles this time in.
Burles hopes they will continue to progress and go all the way to the $2.65 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday October 20.
“I know it’s a big jump up, but we’re entitled to dream,” Burles said.
“He’s probably not up to that class (of the Caulfield Cup), but he’s in it and we’re going to have some fun.
“It’s very exciting to think we have a horse that’s won 50 per cent of his races and is capable of winning good races in Melbourne.”
For now The Cleaner will head back home via ferry before returning to vie for the Caulfield Cup ballot exemption on offer for the winner of the $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 22.
“He has pulled up really well and I was impressed with the ride of young (Ben) Knobel,” Burles said yesterday.
“He’ll be back in his paddock with his mates by tomorrow morning.
“He will be set for the Group Three Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield at the end of the month.
“And if he happens to win that then he gets an automatic entry into the Caulfield Cup.
“That’s his long-term plan this preparation.”
Despite the high opinion of their trainer and their Sandown success the bookies are realistic over their chances in the 2012 Caulfield Cup with The Cleaner a $201 roughie in the futures markets for the famous handicap at bookmaker.com.au.
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