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After a poor showing in the Conquering WFA Stakes last week, star Tasmanian galloper The Cleaner has been taken off Longford trainer Mick Burles with reports of a move to Victoria for the $1.33 million earner.
A bargain buy back in 2009 from the Magic Millions Tasmanian Yearling Sale for only $10,000, now eight-year-old Savoire Vivre gelding The Cleaner has made a name for both himself and his dedicated former trainer Burles over the past few seasons.
Famous for his thrilling front-running style, the galloper has won 19 of his 54 career starts posting another 12 second placings and four thirds, which he could look to add to from a Mornington base next year.
A multiple stakes winner in Tasmania, during the spring of last year The Cleaner travelled to Melbourne and enjoyed a stellar campaign highlighted by his wins in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
He also contested that season’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) running ninth behind Adelaide beaten just over three lengths as the first Tasmanian-trained horse to contest the classic.
Dropping back in distance next start he placed a hard-fought third to Hucklebuck at Flemington in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) over the mile.
This spring he returned to Victoria and went back-to-back becoming a dual Group 2 in the Dato’ Tan and ran another Group 1 third when a neck off Mourinho in a blanket finish for the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
He improved on his 2014 Cox Plate performance in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship this October when seventh to Chris Waller’s runaway winner Winx before returning to Tasmania for his last start disappointment.
Failing to lead and not giving regular rider Noel Callow anything when asked, The Cleaner could only manage to finish four lengths away seventh as the beaten odds-on favourite behind up-and-coming star Admiral in the Listed Conquering WFA Stakes (1400m) at Launceston on December 9.
Talks of retirement after that loss circled before news broke on Monday that the connections of horse had decided to take The Cleaner off Burles in a move he described as being fuelled by “greed and ego”.
“It’ll probably ruin him again… they just won’t get anything out of him,” Burles told ABC News in regards to the decision to race on with the horse.
“They’re trying to [make out] it’s because I sacked the track rider, and that’s crap. That’s my business, it’s nothing to do with the owners.
“It’s just all greed and ego.”
Before news of his sacking, Burles had indicated that The Cleaner would undergo a veterinary examination that he believed would lead to his retirement from racing.
“At this stage things are not looking real good; his joints are starting to wear out, he can’t get rid of these viruses and things are just not going right for him,” he had said.
“His last 20 starts, except the last one, have been real high-pressure races.
“They’re starting to take their toll I think, and he’s an eight-year-old and been under pressure for a long time, too.
“We’ll just be guided by the vet.”
Before the Conquering WFA Stakes loss, The Cleaner was targeting the $1 million Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) at the Gold Coast on January 9.
That has since been ruled out leaving his future racing plans up in the air.
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