Will the fairy tale come true? I am of course speaking of the game Tasmanian horse who goes by the droll name of The Cleaner. His greatest day will soon be upon him as he tackles the hardest race of his career, the Cox Plate, on Saturday afternoon.
He ticks many boxes as the potential winner of Australia’s greatest middle distance weight for age racing event. He loves the Valley, he can run the distance, he can sustain a fast speed, lead the field and still have some energy left over at the finish. And he’s a tough customer.
I am an unabashed fan of The Cleaner along with many others. I love the way he is a front runner and am charmed by his back story and humble beginnings.
However, he faces stiff opposition from top class Group 1 winners like Fawkner, Sacred Falls and Criterion, not to mention a trio of three year old colts with an 8½ kilo weight advantage. There are also a couple of International hopefuls in Adelaide, Side Glance and Guest of Honour.
It looks to be a really fascinating race, as is generally the case. I just hope a three year old doesn’t win it this year. I would however be delighted if Fawker won as he’s another I greatly fancy and reckon has a good chance. He would become the first grey horse to win the race in 38 years. Champion filly Surround was the last grey to win in 1976 and before her, the Goondiwindi grey Gunsynd in 1972.
On Friday night the first meeting of Moonee Valley’s mini spring carnival the Manikato Stakes is the feature race. The usual suspects are running – Buffering, Lankan Rupee and Rebel Dane, along with smart Sydney horse Terravista, New Zealand mare Bounding, consistent local mare Platelet and Lankan Rupee conqueror (in the McEwen Stakes) Angelic Light. I really hope Lankan Rupee will show his true colours this time around and win with the style we grew accustomed to in the autumn.
I will be attending the Cox Plate meeting on Saturday, but will give the Manikato Stakes a miss – don’t want to wear myself out the night before the big day.
The track should be excellent for racing, as today in Melbourne it was a hot 30°C + and little rain has been forecast. Tomorrow hopefully it will be a bit cooler than today – and more pleasant to be outside.