Cult favourite The Cleaner was set to run in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) this Saturday however trainer Mick Burles has scrapped those plans after it was revealed the seven-year-old gelding would carry a hefty 61.5kg in the race.
The $350,000 race with a Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) ballot exemption for the winner was originally targeted by Burles after The Cleaner ran a strong fourth in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 14, however he will now change course and send the gelding towards the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on April 4.
“He had 61.5kg in the Mornington Cup but he’ll probably be the top weight with 60 kilos in the Easter Cup,” Burles told Racing Victoria.
“The other thing is the race is only 2000 metres whereas the Mornington Cup is a mile-and-a-half (2400m) and a mile-and-a-half with 61.5 kilos is probably a bit too much.”
The Cleaner has been in Burles’ care since the spring of 2013 but surprisingly has never run at Caulfield since transferring to his stables from Robert Smerdon.
Burles is excited to test the gelding at the track in the 2015 Easter Cup, especially considering how well he ran in the Australian Cup two weeks ago. The Cleaner took his time rolling forward after jumping from barrier nine but found his usual place at the front of the pack, stringing out his rivals from 1400m. He led them at a good gallop through the turn and rallied strongly late but kept fighting for fourth place.
“I think the track will really suit him,” the trainer said.
“He pulled up beautifully (after the Australian Cup), I don’t think the horse has ever pulled up as well.
“I was very pleased with him, you couldn’t have asked for a better run second up over 2000m.”
The Cleaner had the best campaign of his career during the spring, winning the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) in September. The gelding then earned his shot at Group One racing for the first time in the Group 2 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 25 but was outclassed, finishing three and a half lengths away in ninth place.
He turned it around two weeks later in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) when returning to his ideal distance of a mile, earning a minor placing.
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