Longford horseman Mick Burles has confirmed the autumn racing plans for his cult galloper The Cleaner who will have one run at home in Tasmania before contesting Melbourne’s 2015 Australian Cup at Flemington second-up this season.
The Savoire Vivre gelding has developed a strong following over his 46-start career to date that has resulted in 18 wins for $938,270 in prize money to date.
Now seven-years-old, The Cleaner has made appearances in three Victorian racing carnivals over the past couple of years including last spring.
In September last year he really made a name for himself interstate winning the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
He then contested his major target, the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), but could only manage to run ninth.
The Cleaner and jockey Steve Arnold had to do too much early work in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship to cross from the outside barrier 14 draw early.
Eventually he hit the front and got going with 700m to go but was tired and outclassed in the closing stages to run three and a half lengths off the European winner Adelaide.
From there he ran a brave third in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington before connections forced Burles to take the horse over to Perth.
While his trainer thought he’d had enough they went over to WA clocking up lots of miles for the campaign to run in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) where he could only manage to run three lengths away ninth behind the locally trained mare Elite Belle.
“I didn’t want to go (to Perth) but anyway we went,” Burles told Sky Sports Radio on Wednesday.
“I thought he’d had enough and he proved that when he got there. You live and learn.”
Burles was quick to send him out after that back home at Longford where he enjoyed a six week break eating up the “nice grass”.
“He’s beautiful, I couldn’t be happier with him,” he said.
“He’s fine. He pulled up (after the Railway Stakes), got home and had about a week here at the stables.
“I fed him up a bit had his nice grass and he was happy.”
His work will be stepped up at the end of this month ahead of a trial at home on February 10th.
“He had about three weeks back and I’ll start doing a bit more with him this month and I’ll try him properly about the 10th of next month,” Burles confirmed.
Then he will resume on Launceston Cup Day during the Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival in the $100,000 Listed George Adams Plate (1600m) on February 25 with Arnold retaining the ride.
Run under weight-for-age conditions, The Cleaner is sure to jump favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au in that first-up run where he’ll carry 59kg with only a four kilo spread to the three-year-olds with 55kg this time of year.
“There are a couple of weight-for-ages but they are on probably now…he wouldn’t be ready for that. I’m not going to bust him,” Burles said.
“I’ll just run him in the George Adams so the locals can have a good look at him.
“The three-year-olds have 55 (kg) that time of year so it makes a bit of difference.”
A return to Flemington is then on the cards for his only other run in a short two-start autumn campaign for the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 14.
“He’ll go to the George Adams on the 25th into the Australia Cup and that’s probably all he’ll do this campaign,” Burles said.
“Just probably only the two (runs).”
The long term plan is then to give the horse a really nice spell before bringing him back to Victoria for another spring carnival and another Cox Plate bid.
“I’ll give him a decent bloody spell (after the Australian Cup),” Burles said.
“Then bring him up and bring him back slow and get him ready for a good campaign in the spring in Melbourne.
“That’s me aim to get there (the Cox Plate) again and draw a decent barrier.
“He only got beaten three lengths which wasn’t too bad (in last year’s Cox Plate).
“It took a bit out of him.”
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