A change of hoops and heading into the run fresh off a spell could be the key to Mick Burles’s Tasmanian raider The Cleaner overcoming his Caulfield hoodoo first-up in Saturday’s 2015 PB Lawrence Stakes.
There are now 11 official nominations for this weekend’s $200,000 Group 2 Back to Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) run at Caulfield Racecourse under weight-for-age conditions, numbers boosted by the late entry from the Peter White-trained Inspector who comes off a fourth in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at the track from July 25.
One of the headline nominees is the Burles-trained veteran The Cleaner from Tasmanian, the eight-year-old son of Savore Vivre set to race for the first time since a fifth at the track in the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) behind Sertorious on April 4.
Before that the gun Group 1 performer was fourth to Spillway in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington, The Cleaner also boasting a Group 1 third at Flemington in the Emirates Stakes over the mile behind Hucklebuck from last November.
To date he has had two Caulfield runs, but he is yet to run top three at the course, something Burles is hoping will change when he resumes on Saturday.
“I’ve been looking forward to getting him back to the races for three months,” Burles told Racing Victoria.
“He’s come up really well but the only reservation I’ve got with him is Caulfield.
“I don’t know whether he likes it there or not. He’s had two runs there and has done nothing both times but in saying that both runs were at the end of a campaign and he’s going there fresh this time.
“I think he’ll be sharp enough. He should have won at Flemington over 1400 first up last preparation.”
Boasting a good first-up record of three wins, two seconds and a third from eight previous resuming runs, The Cleaner is certainly capable of winning in Melbourne.
Before his Emirates Stakes third and Cox Plate ninth last spring the galloper enjoyed a trio of Moonee Valley wins including in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) in September.
It is that form Burles hopes he can rediscover this campaign, the old warhorse heading towards another run in the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) on October 24.
In the latest futures Cox Plate odds for the classic The Cleaner pays a juicy $61 for the win, markets led by European raider Arod ($9).
First-up in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes this Saturday The Cleaner’s possible rivals include Bletchingly Stakes winner Smokin’ Joey, third in the same lead-up Petrology and Darren Weir’s super-consistent six-year-old Taiyoo who will race first-up if accepted.
Throughout his last campaign Steven Arnold rode The Cleaner, but in an attempt to sharpen the horse up Arnold will be replaced this weekend by Noel Callow who was last aboard for his win over the Moonee Valley mile last August.
“I think the horse has gotten a bit too used to Steve,” Burles explained.
“Noel is a bit more aggressive on him whereas Steve is a bit more conservative trying to save a bit for the end of his races and I think it might not have suited him.”
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