The Underwood Stakes is on the radar for popular Tasmanian galloper The Cleaner following his second straight Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes win.
The tough Mick Burles-trained gelding earned a ballot exemption into the Cox Plate for a second consecutive year with his front-running win in Saturday’s Group Two race at Moonee Valley.
Burles used the JRA Cup at Moonee Valley as The Cleaner’s Cox Plate lead-up last year but is looking to go down a different path to the weight-for-age championship in October this time around.
“I’ve got a few options but I’m looking pretty hard at the Underwood now,” Burles told Melbourne’s RSN radio.
“I think the horse has improved a fair bit in himself and is bigger and stronger.
“And I wouldn’t mind picking up a Group One with him.
“I’ve got the Cranbourne Cup lined up there too if I want to have a go at that, but he might cop a bit too much weight in that.”
The Group One Underwood (1800m) is at Caulfield on September 26.
The Cleaner has not won at Caulfield but has shown he can handle the track with a close second to Mourinho in the P B Lawrence Stakes last month.
Burles said after the gelding’s second Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes win he would like to win a race at Caulfield to complete the set of victories on Melbourne’s four tracks.
And Burles is convinced The Cleaner is bigger and stronger as an eight-year-old.
“I know everybody goes crook when I say that, but I know the horse pretty well and I think he is bigger and stronger,” Burles said on Saturday.
The Cleaner is at $21 in Cox Plate markets after Saturday’s convincing win.
He finished ninth in the race won by Irish horse Adelaide last year.