Odds-on favourite in Wednesday night’s Conquering Stakes 2015, Mick Burles’ eight-year-old The Cleaner failed to beat home more than one runner in the clash won by Tasmanian star Admiral.
Famous for his thrilling front-running style, dual Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner The Cleaner shocked the fans when he didn’t lead from the jump in the $100,000 Listed Launceston Mitsubishi Conquering WFA (1400m) at Launceston.
Eventual last-past-the-post, Douglas Brazendale’s lightly-raced mare One Shot Off ($47.70) was forced to take up the front-running, the six-year-old having just her fifth career start and her first in black-type company.
Savoire Vivre gelding The Cleaner and hoop Noel Callow settled into second, the $1.3 million earner having his first start since a seventh to Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Callow did his best on the popular galloper asking for more as they neared the home turn, but something was obviously amiss as The Cleaner was cooked before the final 600m in running.
The Conquering Stakes was still run at a decent speed with One Shot Off out by nearly four lengths at one stage before the backmarkers ran her down at the top of the straight.
A canny ride by winning hoop Brendon McCoull saw him take the quickest way to the line aboard flying Mossman four-year-old Admiral who retained his flawless second-up record posting his fourth win from as many starts two runs in.
His first-up effort was a fifth at the track in the Listed Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on November 18, but Wednesday night saw him strip fitter and smash out his sixth win from eight starts at Launceston.
Ridden up along the rails while his rivals fought for space out wide in the run for home, Admiral ($2.50) responded when McCoull asked and put the field to bed without a worry with a three-quarter length victory over Stuart Gandy’s Wordsmith mare Geegees Goldengirl ($28.10).
Just a further quarter-length back for third was Max Cowen’s Host six-year-old Player One ($55.10) coming off a win over the Hobart mile in mid-November that he won by nearly four lengths.
The ever improving Admiral has now won 10 of his 15 career starts for $437,050 in prize money and trainer Campbell is confident he can win more weight-for-age Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival features over the coming months.
“I am rapt with his effort tonight but that is what I expected might happen,” Campbell told Tas Racing on Wednesday night.
“We will now aim him at all the weight-for-age races because he is weighted out of running in handicaps.
“The horse was our best two and three-year-old and it’s always at the back of your mind whether they can come back at four and keep improving but I’m confident now that this horse is very special.”
The next-up option for Admiral is likely to be a return to Launceston on December 23 for the $100,000 Tasmanian Stakes (1600m) up over a mile.
After smart runs from the back of the field to finish in the money, both Geegees Goldengirl and Player One are set to take on Admiral again in the Tasmanian Stakes 2015 before contesting the Brighton Cup (2100m) at Hobart on January 8.
Admiral is now a four time stakes winning having also won the Listed Gold Sovereign Stakes (1200m) in February last year, the Listed Tasmanian Guineas (1600m) at Hobart this January and the Listed George Adams Stakes (1600m) defeating The Cleaner by over a length in February.
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2015 Conquering Stakes Results
Launceston Race 5 – 09/12/2015
|1||2||ADMIRAL||Barry Campbell||Brendon McCoull||–||1||59kg||$2.50|
|2||6||GEEGEES GOLDENGIRL||Stuart Gandy||Ms Sigrid Carr (a)||0.8L||8||57kg||$28.10|
|3||5||PLAYER ONE||Max Cowen||Anthony Darmanin||1L||7||59kg||$55.10|
|4||4||STREETWISE SAVOIRE||Scott Brunton||David Pires||2.3L||4||59kg||$16|
|5||7||SPIRIT OF NIA||Tegan Keys||Damien Thornton (a)||2.5L||6||57kg||$46.10|
|6||3||GLADSTONE||Scott Brunton||Craig Luttrell||3.8L||2||59kg||$77.20|
|7||1||THE CLEANER||Mick Burles||Noel Callow||4.1L||3||59kg||$1.60F|
|8||8||ONE SHOT OFF||Douglas Brazendale||Ms Shiralee Maher (a)||4.4L||5||57kg||$47.70|