Popular gelding The Cleaner has successfully gained ballot-free entry into the 2015 Cox Plate; producing a typically impressive start-to-finish performance to take out the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley this afternoon.
The Cleaner is known for injecting break-neck speed into the races he contests and that was clearly going to be the case in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes when jockey Noel Callow led the horse forward to the fore of the field after jumping well this afternoon.
Striding out to a healthy lead, the son of Savoire Vivre took a position ahead of Kenjorwood, last-start winner Mourinho and Dibayani towards the bend; ensuring the field would be strung out along the rails.
Rounding onto the final straight with a clear racing line, Callow did not hesitate in immediately asking The Cleaner to kick up a gear and the eight-year-old responded; opening the gap and maintaining a strong enough sprint to hold off a fast-finishing Bagman and brave Dibayani.
Clear race favourite Contributer had not tasted anything but success in 2015 leading into his first-up run in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, and while appearing to be in prime position to mount a final straight charge, never appeared comfortable on the Moonee Valley surface and finished fifth.
The Cleaner added a nineteenth career success to an impressive 51 start record in winning this afternoon’s Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes, and has confirmed his position in the final field for October 24th’s Cox Plate; a race for which he finished a credible 9th in 2014.
Returning this racing this year for second in the Listed George Adams Plate (1600m), The Cleaner produced a typically smart performance to run fourth in the talent-rich Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m), but returned to the paddock after fading late for fifth in the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m).
Having run an agonizingly-close second to Mourinho in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) first-up on August 15th, trainer Mick Burles is yet to settle on a specific path for his stable star in the lead-up to the Cox Plate, but may elect to start the horse in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) as his final point of call prior on October 2nd.
And strong and consistent performer for leading trainer Chris Waller, Bagman received a brief freshen-up after taking out the Jockey Celebration Day Handicap (2040m) on August 1st and is sure to improve of greater racing distances this time.