Cult Tassie galloper The Cleaner leads a field of a dozen gallopers facing off in the marquee race in Melbourne this Easter Saturday, the Easter Cup 2015 at Caulfield Racecourse.
Due to run as Race 7 at 4:10pm (AEDT), this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Le Pine Funerals Easter Cup (2000m) originally drew a final field of 13 but the early scratching of the Chris Waller-trained defending champ Our Voodoo Prince (barrier five) leaves 12 in the mix.
Top weight with 59.5kg in the handicap clash is the Mick Burles-trained The Cleaner, drawn in barrier three with regular rider Steven Arnold to ride.
The seven-year-old Savoire Vivre gelding, third to Hucklebuck in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) in Melbourne last spring, is down in class here after a brave Flemington run on March 14.
Second-up for the season after a second behind Admiral in the Listed George Adams Stakes (1600m) as the beaten favourite at home on February 25, The Cleaner took on the season’s top Victorian stayers in the Group 1 Australian Cup (1600m).
He ran a brave fourth to Spillway when beaten just over two lengths, an effort he’ll be out to improve on here when down in class but up in weights for the weekend with Burles swapping the blinkers with a visor this time round.
“(Jockey) Craig Newitt advised me around 10 starts ago that the visor is what he needs, but I’ve hesitated,” Burles told AAP this week.
“But after watching his run in the Australian Cup I think he does need them.
“Entirely Platinum got a half length in front of him but he came again and put him away.”
Saturday is just The Cleaner’s second Caulfield run after he finished out of the money in the Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) at his only other run at the track during a stint with another trainer Robert Smerdon.
The 57kg second top weight drawn one inside The Cleaner with a barrier four jump for jockey Noel Callow is then the Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington-trained Sertorius.
A fellow seven-year-old, the Galileo gelding also caught the eye at Flemington on Australian Cup Day when runner-up behind Suavito, running in the 2015 Doncaster Mile in Sydney this weekend, in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m).
He was beaten a length that day but drops two kilos for the Easter Cup.
The only other remaining runner weighted above the 54kg minimum is then the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained summer revelation Jacquinot Bay (56kg), another Galileo seven-year-old whose latest win was over the Sandown mile in early February.
Other notable Easter Cup final acceptors include Michael Kent’s top staying mare Epingle who was runner-up to Au Revoir in the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) last November, last year’s Geelong Cup runner-up Marksmanship, Sandown Cup third placed Shoreham and Blamey Stakes fifth past the post Escado.
See below for the full Easter Cup 2015 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2015 Easter Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 7 (4:10pm) – 04/04/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2111939×24||THE CLEANER||Mick Burles||Steven Arnold||3||59.5kg||109|
|2||443x6798x2||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington||Noel Callow||4||57kg||104|
|3||5052111278||JACQUINOT BAY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||9||56kg||102|
|4||x9380x9782||OUR VOODOO PRINCE (GB)||Chris Waller||James Winks||5||55kg||100|
|5||135x4442x0||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent||Stephen Baster||12||54kg||102|
|6||11137022×6||MARKSMANSHIP (IRE)||Ciaron Maher||Ms Michelle Payne||2||54kg||97|
|7||4x977673x6||SHOREHAM||Saab Hasan||Dean Holland||6||54kg||97|
|8||71x5911x80||BACKBONE||Darren Weir||Dean Yendall||1||54kg||95|
|9||17x80075x0||ANCIENT KING (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Regan Bayliss (a)||13||54kg||93|
|10||x46765x475||ESCADO||Matt Laurie||William Pike||10||54kg||93|
|11||56832243×9||ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ)||Leon & Troy Corstens||Chris Parnham (a)||7||54kg||92|
|12||78x2170x60||SABOR A TRIUNFO (CHI)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Chris Symons||11||54kg||91|
|13||05568×4612||POST D’FRANCE (NZ)||Stephen Brown||Patrick Moloney (a)||8||54kg||86|