The Cleaner is currently enjoying a spell at his Longford stable in Tasmania and trainer Mick Burles has revealed that he is using the quiet period to attempt to put some weight on the popular galloper.
Burles said that The Cleaner deserved a break after he finished a lengthy spring campaign with a disappointing performance in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November 22, but the Tasmanian trainer elected to give the seven-year-old his spell at his home stable rather than send him out to the paddock.
The trainer said that he plans to give The Cleaner six weeks in the spelling paddock and at this stage plans to set his star galloper for a return to racing in the Listed George Adams Plate (1600m) at Launceston on February 25 next year.
“He is in the paddock now like I am, both of us are in the paddock,” Burles told Tasracing.
“I am going to keep him here this time and feed him up a bit, get a bit of decent weight on him.
“That is where I am heading (to the George Adams Plate).
“Whether he gets there or not I don’t know and he will have a couple of months work before he gets there and he will have six weeks off.”
The Cleaner stamped himself as the most popular horse in Australia when he led all the way to win both the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 9 and the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at the same venue on September 26 before he was far from disgraced in the Group 1 Cox Plate (1600m) on October 25.
The Savoire Vivre gelding finished a brave third in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8 and went into the Railway Stakes as a clear favourite to record a maiden win at Group 1 level, but he was never comfortable in the run and finished a disappointing ninth.
Burles believes that The Cleaner had plenty of excuses for his performance in the Railway Stakes, but he was happy with the way that the seven-year-old had bounced back from his testing campaign.
“He has come through it alright,” Burles said.
“He didn’t run that well over there; he didn’t like the track, it was a bit shifty for him.
“It was totally different; we had almost an inch of rain the night before the race and they came out with a penetrometer rating of 6.4, but a good three.
“He was definitely at the end of his tether.
“The plane didn’t affect him, but the three hours in the truck at the Melbourne airport did.”
The Cleaner is set to return to Group 1 racing during the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington looms as a likely target for the gelding.