Trainer Mick Burles has been thrilled with the form displayed and results posted by The Cleaner this time in, and is confident the popular gelding is a serious chance for success in Saturday’s featured Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield Racecourse.
The Cleaner gathered a huge contingent of admirers via a strong and consistent preparation through the 2014 edition of the Spring Carnival, and appears to have returned to racing in career-best condition this time in following up a close run for second in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) with a commanding display for success in the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) last time out on September 5th.
Having gained ballot-free entry into the Cox Plate for the second year in a row as a result of his most recent success, Burles told Racing Ahead he is confident the talented son of Savoire Vivre has done everything right in the lead-up to the 2015 Cox Plate and is ready for a big performance amongst talented company.
“I think he’s even a bit better now but we’ll find out on Saturday,” Burles said.
“He’s just had a couple of little grass gallops but nothing real hard, just to tune him up and give him a bit of a blow-out.”
The Cleaner contested and won the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley in the lead-up to his run for ninth in the Cox Plate last year, and Burles believes the positioning of the Underwood Stakes underlines the race as a far-better lead up option this time.
“I thought the night race I ran in last year in the lead-up to the Cox Plate was just a little bit close, so I decided to go into the Underwood and that gives me plenty of time, I can give him a week off then I’ve got three weeks to get him ready,” Burles said.
“He didn’t start racing until her was nearly four and the Savoires are just late maturers.
“He’s relaxed now and really easy to train.
“He’s got a mate with him in the paddock all the time and they go and lay down today, pick grass together.
“There’s a couple in there that could improve. We’ve only ever met Fawkner once and that was in the Cox Plate last year but it’s a bit different of a situation this time.
“There’s other ones in there that do lead. Hi World leads so there will be a bit of pressure in there but he can handle it.”
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2015 Underwood Stakes odds, for which The Cleaner can be taken at a generous quote of $6.50 for success.