Launceston Cup: No catching The Cleaner

Who are you backing in Wednesday's Launceston Cup?

Head of Timeform Australia, Gary Crispe, previews the Group 3 Launceston Cup on Wednesday (05:09 GMT).

"A bold front-runner, The Cleaner returns to Launceston after a brave second behind Hurdy Gurdy Man in the Hobart Cup."

The Cleaner should get all of the favours necessary to help in his pursuit of Wednesday's Group 3 Launceston Cup over 2400m.

A bold front-runner, The Cleaner returns to Launceston after a brave second behind Hurdy Gurdy Man in the Hobart Cup (2400m). The Cleaner on that occasion attempted to make all, but was overpowered late by the Darren Weir-trained stayer. He lost no admirers in the gallant display where the five-year-old ran to a new peak Timeform rating of 110, six pounds clear of Hurdy Gurdy Man who carried the limit weight.

Wednesday's Launceston Cup arguably sees the pendulum swing back in The Cleaner's favour with the Mick Burles-trained gelding possessing excellent track credentials.

Expect Burles' stable star to quickly take up the lead from an inside barrier and around the tight turning Launceston track with its short straight should be the envy of all those behind him as they cover much more ground tracking wide over the concluding stages. The Cleaner also meets Hurdy Gurdy Man 2.5kg better at the weights, a turnaround not reflective of only a 1¼ length defeat. The Hobart Cup also helped answer queries surrounding The Cleaner's ability to run out 2400m with his lone prior outing over the trip a well held fifth in Mornington's Listed Ansett Classic during the spring.

While a strong case can be made for The Cleaner to turn the tables, Hurdy Gurdy Man still must be respected. Hurdy Gurdy Man did everything right during his Apple Isle debut with the five-year-olds Hobart Cup victory yielding him a new peak Timeform figure of 104.

Under the guidance of Glen Boss, Hurdy Gurdy Man can get a tow across from barrier seven behind The Cleaner and take up a forward position. Hurdy Gurdy Man has two wins and two minor placings to show from four starts over this trip and based on how he ran through the line at Hobart 10 days ago, can build upon that record here.

Runner up in the 2012 Launceston Cup, Geegees Blackflash heads into this year's renewal off of a close third in the Hobart Cup. Geegees Blackflash loomed large midway up the Hobart straight last start however hit a flat spot inside the final furlong. The John Luttrell-trained galloper fought on bravely and in doing so posted a new master Timeform figure of 114, one pound superior to his prior peak figure achieved during the 2012 Launceston Cup renewal when almost lumping 60kg to victory.

Looking to remain unbeaten in six starts during his 2012 summer campaign, jockey Peter Mertens asked Geegees Blackflash to move around the field well before the home turn. Geegees Blackflash obliged and looked the winner in the straight however the petrol he used approaching the 600m took its toll over the concluding stages as the Clangalang gelding was collared late by Prevailing. Mertens was lucky to make it out of Launceston alive after the ambitious move arguably cost the popular Tasmanian galloper victory however can make amends on Wednesday. The six-year-old should get the run of the race jumping from barrier 2 where he can proceed to be settled on the fence no further than two pairs back.

Fieldmaster profiles as the fourth elect. The Patrick Payne-trained galloper ran fifth in the Hobart Cup, beaten three lengths behind Hurdy Gurdy Man. From barrier 15, Fieldmaster was ridden more aggressively than usual with Michelle Payne doing well to cross over from out wide and get one off the fence approaching the first turn. The Black Minnaloushe gelding by the middle stages found himself on the fence however couldn't get away from it when rivals behind began peeling deep to make their moves. Fieldmaster never got clear over the final stages and the six-year-old can conclude his Tasmanian campaign with an improved result in the Launceston Cup.

The addition of Blinkers for the first time could prove the key to his chances, sharpening the mainlander up that extra bit. Drawn well in barrier 6, Fieldmaster should be prominent in transit and can play a major role if allowed clear running approaching home. While Fieldmaster can be prominent at the finish, actually getting by The Cleaner over the concluding stages should prove tough.

For that reason The Cleaner appears most poised to end his Tasmanian Summer campaign on a high in Wednesday's Group 3 Launceston Cup (05:09 GMT).

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