Tasmanian raider The Cleaner had a horror start to his trip to Perth for Saturday’s Railway Stakes, but trainer Mick Burles remains “pretty keen” on the popular galloper for the win.
Winner of the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes – Group 3 JRA Cup double at Moonee Valley earlier this prep, Savoir Vivre seven-year-old The Cleaner didn’t have as smooth a start to his Western Australian bid as Burles would have liked.
Going off in the truck, The Cleaner was the last to load off the float onto the plane that would take him west all the way to the Perth International Airport on Friday after a traumatic three and a half hour wait that nearly put an end to his summer campaign before it had officially begun.
“He put his head through the roof of the truck. He never hurt himself, but he really went off and his was dripping wet,” Burles told TVN on Monday.
Lucky to escape without injury, the veteran eventually had a smooth plane trip to Perth arriving in good order ahead of this Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot Racecourse.
“The plane didn’t worry him at all, but it was nearly 14 hours from the time they picked him up until I got to the stables in Perth,” Burles said.
The Cleaner has since settled in well to his new surroundings having joined the stables of local horseman Fred Kersley.
After a failed ninth behind Irish raider Adelaide in the Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25, The Cleaner was last seen running a brave third in behind Hucklebuck in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
He fought home strongly in that November 8 clash after looking in trouble after straightening, and lost few admirers when crossing only one and a half lengths off the winner.
Burles is hoping for a better Railway Stakes result this weekend however and is quietly confident his horse has what it takes to come away a Group 1 winner.
“He’s pretty happy within himself and he’s eating well. I’m pretty keen on him,” he said.
Bookmakers around the country including Ladbrokes seem to agree with the Longford-based horseman and have The Cleaner installed at the top of their pre-field Winterbottom Stakes betting markets.
The galloper will have a blow out gallop at Tuesday’s ‘breakfast with the stars’ at Ascot ahead of the Railway Stakes barrier draw where Burles is hoping for an inside gate.
“Fred says if you don’t draw a barrier here you can’t win, but they don’t know this horse either,” he said.
The Cleaner will be ridden by Steven Arnold who has been aboard for the horse’s past four starts.