Equine cult hero The Cleaner arrives in Melbourne on Friday morning in better shape than he was before last year’s breakout spring carnival.

That’s the candid assessment from trainer Mick Burles after The Cleaner, who won the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes and JRA Cup during the spring, completed his final fast gallop before Saturday’s $1 million Australian Cup at Flemington.

“I think he’s bigger and strong and better than he’s ever been,” declared Burles.

The Cleaner, coming off a first-up second behind Admiral in the George Adams Plate at Launceston on February 25, worked over 1000 metres on Tuesday at Longford.

Burles said the seven-year-old brushed home his final 600 metres in 33 seconds, his last 400 metres in 21.6 seconds.

“Everything is really good — it couldn't be better,” Burles said. (Racing Network)

“There’s some bloody good horses in this race, but I think he’ll be right in the finish. There’s some who’ll find this trip too short and some who’ll find it too long.

“He only got beaten three lengths in a Cox Plate and I think he would have finished in the first three if he'd drawn a barrier.”

The Cleaner drew the outside gate in the Cox Plate and was forced to work overtime to take up his customary front-running role.

He was swamped on the home turn, but fought on to finish ninth, beaten 3.35 lengths behind Adelaide.

Sportsbet.com.au rates The Cleaner a $26 chance in its market, which has Hartnell and Protectionist $5 equal favourites.