Trainer Mick Burles has revealed that The Cleaner could have his next race start in the 2015 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on September 26.
The Cleaner started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a narrow loss to Mourinho in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 15, but he returned to his very best form to lead from start to finish in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5.
The Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) is the major spring goal for The Cleaner, but Burles told RSN yesterday that he is keen to give the Savoire Vivre gelding an opportunity at Group 1 level in the Underwood Stakes (1800m).
“I have a few options,” Burles said.
“I am looking pretty hard at the Underwood now.
“The horse has improved in himself, he is bigger and stronger and I wouldn’t mind picking up a Group 1 with him.
“I have the Cranbourne Cup lined up as well if I want to have a crack at that, but he might get a bit too much weight in that.”
The Cleaner was given very little trackwork in the lead-up to the P.B. Lawrence Stakes due to the wet winter in Tasmania, but Burles received special permission to gallop The Cleaner at Mowbray before the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
Burles said that The Cleaner took plenty of benefit from the extra trackwork and he is confident that the eight-year-old still has improvement left in him as he heads towards the Underwood Stakes and the Cox Plate.
“I had trouble getting a grass gallop before his first run, I couldn’t get on the grass anywhere and they cancelled the trials,” Burles said.
“The big boss over here got me on the grass to have a couple of gallops before I went to Melbourne and it made a hell of a difference.”
The Cleaner’s win in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes guarantees him a place in the 2015 Cox Plate field and he will have the chance to improve on his tough ninth place finish in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship last year.
The Cleaner is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $21 with Ladbrokes, while Highland Reel ($11) is now favourite from Arod ($13), Contributer ($15), Criterion ($15), Fawkner ($15), Kermadec ($15) and Pornichet ($15).