Despite beating home both Protectionist and Red Cadeaux in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on Saturday, it’s looking less and less likely that The Cleaner will travel to Sydney and contest The Championships alongside them.
The Cleaner ran fourth in the $1 million feature race at Flemington Racecourse and his trainer Mick Burles couldn’t be happier with the result.
The 2015 Australian Cup was a shocking race to say the least, delivering David Hayes & Tom Dabernig the quinella with Spillway and roughie stablemate Extra Zero finishing within a millimeter of each other while race favourite Happy Trails was one and a quarter lengths away in third. Seven year-old The Cleaner was a further length away in fourth place, beating home the likes of Red Cadeaux (5th), Protectionist (8th), and Foreteller (9th).
“I’m over the moon with him, rapt with him,” Burles told AAP.
“I said if he ran in the first four I’d be happy.
“Twelve top horses he beat home and two surprise horses won the race they didn’t think would.”
The Tasmanian-based gelding has become somewhat of a cult hero in the past year, finishing in the first two in six consecutive starts at Flemington and stepping up to Group One level racing for the first time in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), for which he scored a minor placing.
The Cleaner holds a nomination for both the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 4 and 11 respectively, which are part of The Championships series running at Randwick.
However Burles isn’t sold on the idea of making The Cleaner travel from his stables in Longford up to Sydney for the races, especially if he’s weighted heavily.
In that instance, the gelding would run in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on March 28 instead.
“If they give him too much weight I won’t,” he said.
“I got him nominated in Sydney but I’m not much interested. It’s too much travelling.”
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