Team Gelagotis have revealed that the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1400m) at Moonee Valley on January 27th is likely to figure as the autumn launch pad for Mourinho, after the veteran completed a strong barrier trial at Cranbourne on Monday morning.
A Group 1 winner having taken out the 2015 edition of the Underwood Stakes (1800m), Mourinho has not been seen at the races since finishing a gallant third in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield in February, having suffered a string of unfortunate ailments that put his racing future in doubt.
Stable manager Manny Gelagotis told Racenet that the son of Oratorio has continued to turn heads in his return to racing, and that his performance in the 800m Cranbourne jump-out suggests that he isn’t far away from a day at the races.
“He trialled this morning over a half-mile. Craig Newitt rode him and said he was back to his old ways,” Gelagotis said.
“He bounced out, travelled well and was never off the bridle.
“Amazingly this morning, he didn’t lay out. He just went straight and he’s just got a natural engine and loves racing.”
A rising ten-year-old, Mourinho made his racing debut in the late stages of 2010 and produced a number of typically smart results throughout his first campaign; highlighted by a smart win in the Tasmanian Derby (2200m).
Continuing to impress through several consistent preparations in 2011 and 2012, Mourinho posted his maiden black type win in the 2013 edition of the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Mourinho was not expected to produce much when he lined up for the Australia Stakes at the beginning of 2015 but led from start to finish to post a smart win over several standout racehorses, including Dissident.
Progressing through undoubtedly his best racing year to date, the gelding out of Benevolent posted wins in each of the Peter Young Stakes, Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and Underwood Stakes, and a credible third in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) most notably.
2017 Australia Stakes nominations are due to be taken by Monday, January 23rd.