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The Cleaner has already put the town of Longford and trainer Mick Burles on the map.

A Cox Plate win would put the horse alongside some of the sporting greats of Tasmania.

Names like Ricky Ponting, Darrel Baldock and Melbourne Cup winner Piping Lane are sporting icons of the Apple Isle and Burles believes his horse can become a legend if successful at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

“I hope he would be on top of them,” Burles said.

“Ponts is a good bloke, the `Doc was one of the best footballers ever, Piping Lane a brilliant horse.

“There’s plenty there that he’d have to climb over, but I’ll be happy with whatever he does.”

The Cleaner arrived in Melbourne on Friday morning following a ferry ride across Bass Strait, a trip The Cleaner has done before every start in Melbourne under Burles’ care.

The knockabout trainer said the travel had never worried The Cleaner.

It was a more comfortable trip on Thursday night compared to the seven-metre seas on the crossing before The Cleaner’s latest victory in the JRA Cup on September 26.

It will be more than four weeks since The Cleaner last raced but Burles is not worried and believes the gelding goes into his first Group One at the top of his form.

“He had five days off when he came home from the JRA Cup then we started slow working him,” Burles said.

“He’s had three gallops, two good ones and one sharp one to finish with.

“His last gallop on Wednesday was a little too good.

“There were trainers in the stand saying that has never happened here before, he ran his last 400 metres in 21.7 (seconds).

“He’s a stayer, not a sprinter.”

While the Cox Plate is regarded as Australia’s weight-for-age championship, Burles is treating it as just another race.

But he admits it took him a long time to acknowledge the fact that he has a runner in the Cox Plate.

The Cleaner cemented a berth in the race with victory in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes on September 6, the first time jockey Steven Arnold, a Cox Plate-winning jockey, partnered the gelding.

Burles says he is proud to have a contender but is having difficulty working out the form of the overseas competitors.

But Burles said the gelding was ready to run the race of his life with his biggest worry being keeping the horse in one piece.

“He’s a lovely horse and has always been sound but when you’re a bloke like me and have come from nowhere, something is bound to go wrong,” he said.

“Luckily nothing has.”

 
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