One of the true characters of racing in recent times, trainer Mick Burles has died aged 70 after suffering from emphysema for many years.
Burles and The Cleaner garnered a cult following and put the Tasmanian town of Longford on the map for their deeds in high class Melbourne races in 2014 and 2015.
The Australian Trainers Association confirmed Burles had died in a Tasmanian nursing home.
The Cleaner was retired in 2016 and now resides at Living Legends in Melbourne while Burles, who trained his first winner in 1976, retired last year because of ill health.
A natural front runner, The Cleaner won the Group Two Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes twice in Burles’ care and was also Group One placed.
He was the first Tasmanian-trained horse to run in a Cox Plate, running ninth in 2014 and seventh a year later in the first of Winx’s four wins.
After another unplaced run, Burles thought the horse was retired and was heartbroken when he was transferred to Peter Gelagotis but after four more starts, he had run his last race.
The pair were reunited in 2018 when The Cleaner was taken to Tasmania as part of a promotion for Armidale Stud where he was born.