Trainer Mick Burles has confirmed that popular galloper The Cleaner will only have two race starts during his autumn racing campaign.
The Cleaner failed to perform at his best when he finished ninth in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November at the end of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and Burles revealed that he did not want to take the gelding to Perth for the Group 1 event.
Burles sent The Cleaner to the spelling paddock once he returned to Tasmania and the veteran trainer told Sky Racing HQ that the Savoire Vivre gelding had relished his stint away from racing and is in excellent condition ahead of his autumn campaign.
“He is beautiful and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Burles said.
“He had about six weeks off.
“I thought that the horse had had enough and didn’t want to go there and he proved that when he got there.
“You live and you learn.
“He got home, had a week here at the stable and we fed him up a bit with his nice grass and he was happy.”
The Cleaner had nine race starts from May to November last year, but Burles plans on giving the seven-year-old a much quieter preparation in the autumn and already has his eye on another tilt at the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Burles said that The Cleaner will return to racing in the Listed George Adams Plate (1600m) at Launceston on February 25 and return to Melbourne for the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 before he heads straight back to the spelling paddock.
“He has had about three weeks back in and I will start doing a bit with him at the end of the month before I trial him on the 10th of next month,” Burles said.
“Then he will go to the George Adams on the 25th into the Australian Cup and that is probably all he will do this campaign.
“I will run him in the George Adams, so the locals can get a good look at him.
“I will give him a decent bloody spell, bring him back, bring him up slow and get him ready for a campaign in the spring in Melbourne.
“That is my aim to get there again (to the Cox Plate) and draw a decent barrier.
“He only got beaten three lengths, which is not bad in that sort of field.”
The Cleaner has recorded 18 wins from his 46 race starts and has accumulated just under $1 million in prizemoney for connections.