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Popular horse The Cleaner runs last race

Cult hero The Cleaner has run his last race.

The Cleaner’s owners have decided to retire the popular nine-year-old on the strong recommendation of trainer Peter Gelagotis.

Racing manager Manny Gelagotis said The Cleaner had “raised the white flag” in Saturday’s Group Three Coongy Cup at Caulfield, where he finished seventh.

Gelagotis said it was the first time the gelding had shown he did not want to be a racehorse.

“Today is the very first time that he’s physically shown us and the white flag went up which is really unlike him,” he told AAP.

“So I think it’s a clear message from our perspective that he’s telling us what he wants.”

Stewards reported The Cleaner pulled up lame and had an internal bleed.

Gelagotis then tweeted confirmation that the horse will be retired, spending a short time at Living Legends before returning to Tasmania.

The horse known as the `Longford Lion’ moved to the Gelagotis stables in Moe in regional Victoria in December, after his owners decided to continue racing without long-time trainer Mick Burles in Tasmania.

At the time Bill Fawdry, one of three part-owners in the horse, said he believed The Cleaner had another year of racing in him.

He conceded on Saturday The Cleaner’s time may have come to an end.

“Perhaps he’s telling us what he wants,” Fawdry told AAP.

Fawdry said The Cleaner missed his good race when last Sunday’s Cranbourne Cup was called off.

“We thought he’d have gone better,” Fawdry said of Saturday’s run.

The nine-year-old has been one of the most popular horses in training, endearing himself to the public with his tough front-running style.

Burles’ laconic character and the horse’s constant ferry trips from Tasmania to Melbourne, where he has contested some of the country’s best races, also contributed to his cult status.

“We all love The Cleaner,” Gelagotis said.

“He’s been a great horse. Remember him for what he’s done.”

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