The Lion Of Longford may have disappointed the hearts of his adoring fans but his trainer couldn’t help but heap praise on his first Cox Plate runner.
Tasmanian Mick Burles knew it was going to be a tough task for The Cleaner who after leading weakened to finish ninth behind Irish galloper Adelaide.
The Cleaner was forced to work early and was four-wide leaving the straight before pressing on to the lead.
As is his usual racing pattern, The Cleaner tried to break the hearts of his rivals by applying the pressure with 800m to run.
But the early work told and the gelding was swamped in the run to the line.
“That’s racing,” said Burles.
“I’m happy with what he’s done. He couldn’t kick back after doing all that work.
“He was still there at the 100 metres but he just died in the last 50 metres which he’s entitled to do.”
Arnold said he expected those drawn inside him to kick up and force him to work early but it took him a little longer to cross than what he expected.
He said he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t take a sit aboard The Cleaner, which is against his usual racing pattern.
“He came out flowing and they just kept kicking up inside me,” Arnold said.
“I had to keep going on him. He relaxed well and even though he had done a bit of work but I had to get going on him as he’s one-paced.
“I always knew he was going to be vulnerable in the last 50 metres”.
Burles said he would see how The Cleaner pulled-up before deciding on whether the gelding lines-up in the Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 8.
“He would have to pull up pretty bloody good,” Burles said.