Popular galloper The Cleaner is on track to contest the 2015 Australian Cup during the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing after impressing connections with his performance in a barrier trial this morning.
The Cleaner contested the opening barrier trial of the morning at Longform over 700 metres and he worked his way through the field without being hard ridden to finish second behind promising mare Huss Style.
Trainer Mick Burles was more than happy with the barrier trial performance of The Cleaner and he confirmed that his star galloper is on track to return to racing in the Listed George Adams Plate (1600m) at Launceston on February 25.
“He has pulled up really good and I didn’t expect him to do that good against 700 metre sprinters,” Burles said.
“That horse that won the trial is a pretty good horse and I was more than happy with what he has done because he beat the others pretty easily.
“I was more than happy with him and it was pretty quick for a 700 metres trial.”
Burles revealed at the end of last year that The Cleaner would head to the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 after running in the George Adams Plate before returning to the spelling paddock, but the veteran gelding was included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) that were released yesterday.
The Longford-based trainer said that The Cleaner was unlikely to make the trip to Sydney for either race and he is focused on giving the Savoire Vivre gelding a good break in the spelling paddock before he returns for another crack at the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
“He will go straight to the Australian Cup unless something happens in the George Adams, but at this stage he will go straight to the Australian Cup,” Burles said.
“That is probably as far as I am going with him at this stage.
“We have nominated him for the Doncaster and the Queen Elizabeth in Sydney, but he would have to be placed in an Australian Cup to even think about going there.
“It is a pretty big effort to go up there.
“I want him to have a reasonable spell after the Australian Cup or the Doncaster, so that I can have a decent crack at the Spring Carnival.”
The Cleaner is currently available at 2015 Australian Cup odds of $17 with Ladbrokes Australia, while Protectionist ($5) is a clear favourite from Happy Trails ($10) and Contributer ($11).