The Cleaner will take winning form into the 2014 Cox Plate after he recorded his third straight victory in the 2014 JRA Cup at Moonee Valley tonight.
The Cleaner was a little bit tardy out of the gates and Lord Durante found himself in front in the early stages of the race, but jockey Steven Arnold wasted little time pushing forward and taking up the running with The Cleaner.
Mourinho and Marksmanship were settled just behind The Cleaner and looked as though they were tracking into the race nicely, but Arnold put the pressure on the rest of the field at the 700 metre mark and he had most of the chasers off the bit.
2011 Victoria Derby winner Sangster emerged from the rest of the chasing pack and looked as he was going to run down The Cleaner, but the cult hero held on to claim his second straight win at Group level after he took out the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at his last start.
The Cleaner was a drifter in betting before the running of the JRA Cup, but trainer Mick Burles was always confident that his star galloper would be able to run out a strong 2040 metres and record a popular victory.
“They probably love him as much as I do,” Burles said of the Moonee Valley crowd.
“I don’t know where the query was because he has run seven races up to 2100 and I suppose Index Linked and Banca Mo beat him, but neither of them are on track anymore and he buggered both of them.
“He will go home and have a week in his paddock and we will get him ready for the Cox Plate.
“Nothing will change.”
Arnold has now recorded two wins from as many starts on The Cleaner and the leading Melbourne hoop said that he is delighted to have formed a partnership with such a popular and tough galloper.
Arnold steered equine superstar So You Think to victory in the 2010 edition of the Cox Plate and he believes that The Cleaner will give a good sight in the 2014 Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
“It is a great thrill,” Arnold said.
“He has to go at a good tempo, but he is so courageous that he sort of breaks them up coming to the corner and it is a real tough test for them to get past him.
“He is building a bit of momentum and building a good following.
“He is such a courageous horse and everybody seems to love him.”
The Cleaner is now available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $34 with Ladbrokes Australia.