Lucky seven for The Cleaner

THE cards keep falling into place for favourite The Cleaner ahead of Wednesday's $100,000 Devonport Cup with jockey Jason Maskiell able to exercise his lucky number seven yesterday.

Maskiell took part in the official barrier draw held at the Birdcage Tavern and had no hesitation in choosing barrier seven for The Cleaner.

``It's my favourite number and the connections of The Cleaner wanted a middle barrier, so everything has worked out well,'' he said.

The Cleaner remains the $3 favourite to keep his unbeaten record in this preparation intact.

``My horse is in tip-top order and I couldn't be happier with him,'' Longford trainer Mick Burles said.

Burles has prepared The Cleaner for two impressive wins this campaign, winning at weight-for-age at Elwick on December 16 and  in  an open handicap at Mowbray on January 2.

``He's bigger and stronger than 12 months ago and he's ready for Wednesday's race,'' Burles said.

Maskiell has ridden The Cleaner both times in this preparation, and a win on Wednesday will give the 23-year-old his biggest race win since returning to the saddle after an enforced break.

The Cleaner was the most popular horse at yesterday's calcutta, attracting a top bid of $1000.

The calcutta pool topped $4600 and carries a first prize of $3253.

Other horses that  attracted interest were Catwen Boy ($600), Fieldmaster ($500) and Zellarcy (350).

Injured jockey Michelle Payne has arrived to supervise Fieldmaster and stablemate Cellarmaster for her brother, Paddy Payne.

Michelle Payne has been sidelined since a race fall at Ararat last September when she suffered neck fractures.

She has been cleared to resume trackwork and has ridden both Fieldmaster and Cellarmaster since they arrived at Spreyton Park late last week.

The 27-year-old remains hopeful of making a return to race riding within the next few weeks.

The Cleaner, with Stephen Maskiell aboard, wins the Brighton Cup in 2011.

The Cleaner, with Stephen Maskiell aboard, wins the Brighton Cup in 2011.