The Cleaner Tops 2014 JRA Cup Nominations

Mick Burles’ star Tassie galloper The Cleaner will take his next step towards next month’s Cox Plate having been nominated for Friday night’s JRA Cup 2014 at Moonee Valley Racecourse.

The Cleaner

2014 Cox Plate hope The Cleaner tops the JRA Cup nominations for Friday night in Melbourne. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

A key support race of Moir Stakes Night in Melbourne, this year’s $200,000 Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) attracted a bumper 18 nominations on Monday.

Run over the same track and distance, the handicap clash is the ideal lead-up for gallopers looking to return to the Valley on October 25 for a shot at the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m).

One of those JRA Cup entries with Cox Plate dreams is Savoire Vivre seven-year-old The Cleaner, the gelding coming off a fast finishing win in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) on September 6.

That gave him back-to-back wins at Moonee Valley and continued the fairy-tale Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival raid of the veteran from the Apple Isle.

In current Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au The Cleaner is rated a $34 chance in markets led by Robert Hickmott’s Makybe Diva Stakes runner-up Fawkner ($9) and if accepted for Friday’s clash he’ll carry the 59kg top weight.

The JRA Cup is also a nice lead-up for horses heading towards a possible run in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) over more distance on October 18.

The shortest-priced of the Caulfield Cup nominees in JRA Cup contention this year is the Patrick Payne-trained Group 3 winning mare Zanbagh ($34) who was runner-up to Rising Romance in the Group 1 ATC Oaks over the mile and a half at Randwick back in April.

This time in the Bernardini four-year-old has had two unplaced runs at Moonee Valley most recently running sixth to St Jean over the mile on September 6, an effort she’s tipped to improve on as she gets out over more distance this weekend.

Other 2014 Caulfield Cup-bound hopes in the mix include the Peter Moody-trained Savabeel six-year-old Brambles coming off a 1700m win at Flemington from a fortnight ago and Darren Weir’s third placegetter in that same race Signoff.

Brambles however is likely to skip the JRA Cup in favour of the Saturday week’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.

“If he runs in the JRA Cup he would have to chase The Cleaner and if he won he would face a penalty for the Cups,” Moody told the Herald Sun.

“I just think the Turnbull could be the better option.”

Following The Cleaner in the JRA Cup ballot and weights meanwhile are the likes of the Bart & James Cummings-trained veteran Group 1 performer and Moonee Valley specialist Precedence (58kg), New Zealand visitor Sangster (57.5kg) who took out the Auckland Cup last year and the 2011 Victoria Derby down under, and Ciaron Maher’s Postponed seven-year-old Mr O’Ceirin (57kg).

Other noteworthy nominations include Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes runner-up Mourinho who defends his JRA Cup title, the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Canberra Cup winner Jacquinot Bay and Hvasstan.

See below for the full JRA Cup 2014 nominations and weights with the final field due for release on Wednesday.

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2014 JRA Cup Nominations & Weights

Moonee Valley Racecourse – 26/09/2014

# Horse Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp. Rating
1 THE CLEANER Mick Burles 1 59kg 108
2 PRECEDENCE (NZ) Bart & James Cummings 2 58kg 106
3 SANGSTER (NZ) Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young 3 57.5kg 105
4 BRAMBLES (NZ) Peter G Moody 4 57.5kg 105
5 MR O’CEIRIN (NZ) Ciaron Maher 5 57kg 104
6 MOURINHO Peter Gelagotis 6 56.5kg 103
7 ZANBAGH Patrick Payne 7 54kg 100
8 SHOREHAM Saab Hasan 8 55kg 100
9 MASKED MARVEL (GB) Robert Hickmott 9 55kg 100
10 JACQUINOT BAY David Hayes & Tom Dabernig 10 54kg 98
11 ANCIENT KING (IRE) Peter G Moody 11 54kg 97
12 MARKSMANSHIP (IRE) Ciaron Maher 12 54kg 96
13 HVASSTAN Peter Gelagotis 13 54kg 95
14 BIG MEMORY (FR) Tony McEvoy 14 54kg 95
15 LORD DURANTE Simone Ferchie 15 54kg 93
16 SIGNOFF (IRE) Darren Weir 16 54kg 92
17 OMINOUS (GB) Nigel Blackiston 17 54kg 90
18 PYRROLIC Michael Kent 18 54kg 84

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