Admiral upstaged a disappointing The Cleaner to record an impressive victory in the 2015 Conquering Stakes at Launceston overnight.
The Cleaner was well-backed in the lead-up to the Conquering Stakes, but punters that took the short price on offer would have been worried early after the popular gelding failed to take up the running in the early stages of the race.
Callow asked The Cleaner for an extra effort at the 600 metre mark, but it was quickly apparent that the Group 1 placegetter was nowhere near his best and he was the first horse beaten.
Brendon McCoull opted to ride Admiral patiently and save ground on the fence, but the Mossman gelding responded extremely quickly when asked for an extra effort and he put away his rivals without issue to record a comfortable victory.
Trainer Barry Campbell told the media after the race that he was always confident that Admiral would be able to get the job done in the Conquering Stakes and he confirmed that Admiral will push on to races like the Listed Tasmania Stakes (1600m) at Launceston on December 23 and Listed George Adams Plate (1600m) at the same venue on February 24.
“I am rapt with his effort tonight but that is what I expected might happen,” Campbell said.
“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.”
Trainer Mick Burles was confident that The Cleaner was in outstanding condition ahead of the Conquering Stakes, but he admitted after the race that there was clearly something not right with his star galloper and he will have the veteran tested before he assesses whether he heads to the Gold Coast for the 2016 Magic Millions Cup.
“He had the virus that we were quite sure had come and gone because his blood work that I had done this week came back spot-on,” Burles said.
“There is clearly something not right because Noel (Callow) said when he gave him a squeeze to extend 500m out he had nothing to give and that is definitely not the horse we all know so I’ll have to have him checked out and we’ll have those results in a couple of days.”
Geegees Goldengirl hit the line strongly to finish in second, while Player One rounded out the placings in third.