Form expert Daniel O’Sullivan has The Cleaner on top of his 2015 Underwood Stakes tips and he believes that the cult hero represents great value at his current quote.
The Cleaner returned to the races with a second place finish behind Mourinho in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 15 and he returned to winning form when he ran his rivals ragged in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5.
O’Sullivan told RSN that The Cleaner produced the best performance of his career to date in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes and he believes that the eight-year-old will prove tough to beat if he is able to replicate that performance in the Underwood Stakes.
“It is a really interesting race because we have The Cleaner who is absolutely flying and came off a really strong, sustained speed effort to win the Dato there at Moonee Valley,” O’Sullivan said.
“He did it at both ends of the race and outside of Bagman he actually ran the fastest last 200 minutes of the race.
“That is a mighty effort to be strong at both ends of the race at that level and it was a serious performance of quality.
“On my figures that was a slight personal best for him and it is consistent with Mick Burles saying before the race that The Cleaner was going better than ever.
“Most of us probably just dismissed that as the trainer talking up his horse, but the evidence well and truly points to the fact that he is.
“I think The Cleaner is terrific odds again purely because he is coming off such a high quality performance.”
Fawkner is currently available at 2015 Underwood Stakes odds of $3.50 with Ladbrokes and O’Sullivan admits that the veteran gelding is the main danger to The Cleaner in the Group 1 event.
O’Sullivan has a high opinion of Fawkner, but he is concerned that he is not ready for a tough 1800 metres in the Underwood Stakes after he ran first-up in such a slowly run affair in the Makybe Diva Stakes.
“The Makybe Diva won by Fawkner was a terribly slow run race and it developed into a sprint home,” O’Sullivan said.
“That really compressed the finish of the field and it gave more horses a winning chance because it was only a test over that last 400 minutes.
“Fawkner coming off that soft run is potentially just a bit underdone for a really strong run 1800 metre race.
“He is going to get an ideal run and he has the capacity to elevate to a level that can eclipse The Cleaner’s best.”
The Cleaner is currently available at 2015 Underwood Stakes odds of $6.50 and he is on the third line of betting behind Fawkner ($3.50) and Contributer ($4.60).