Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
The surprise nomination and acceptance for The Cleaner in Saturday’s Bletchingly Stakes has been followed by his withdrawal from the field with the Cox Plate hope to be saved for his original first-up target of the 2016 PB Lawrence Stakes.
A former Tasmanian-trained warhorse, The Cleaner was transferred from Mick Burles to the stables of the Moe-based Peter Gelagotis over the autumn.
Since joining Gelagotis the plan was to kick the Savoire Vivre gelding off with a first-up run in the $200,000 Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on August 13.
To the surprise of many then the rising nine-year-old was thrown into the mix for an earlier return at the track in this weekend’s Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m).
He has since been scratched from the weight-for-age Bletchingly Stakes field however and will instead be saved for the Lawrence Stakes after all.
“We had consultation between the stakeholders in the horse including the jockey as well as some professional form analysts after which Peter decided to it was in the horse’s best interests to wait a fortnight and for 1400m,” stable manager Manny Gelagotis told G1X.com.au.
“It just came down to the way the race profiles for Saturday.
“It looks as though it could be a pressure speed race with Charmed Harmony and Lord Of The Sky and we just didn’t feel it best to get engaged in that.”
The Cleaner has had 54 career starts for 19 win s, 12 seconds and four thirds but has been over the 1200m just twice before.
The decision to save him for a longer-distance return then fits well for the recent trial winner on the Cranbourne synthetic track as The Cleaner heads towards a shot at three consecutive wins in the $250,000 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse on September 3.
If all goes well and the horse is performing at his best, connections could consider a third shot at the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) back at Moonee Valley on October 22.
The Cleaner ran ninth to Adelaide in the Cox Plate two years ago and seventh to Winx in last year’s edition of Australasia’s weight-for-age championships.
Winx ($2.80) is dominant early favourite in all-in Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au again this season, while The Cleaner is only rated a $101 roughie.
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