Trainer Peter Gelagotis has confirmed that the 2015 Australian Cup will be the major autumn target for Australia Stakes winner Mourinho.
Gelagotis elected to include Mourinho in the Australia Stakes at the urging of connections after nominations were extended for the Group 2 event and the decision proved a masterstroke when the Oratorio gelding finished over the top of his rivals to record an upset win and maintain his outstanding record at Moonee Valley.
The Moe-based trainer revealed after the race that his original plan was to run Mourinho in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14 before stepping up in distance for the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at the same venue on February 28 and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14, but he was clearly thrilled that he had agreed to run his star galloper in the Australia Stakes.
“We had a look and thought we’d throw him in; if you’re not in it you can’t win it,” Gelagotis told the media after the race.
“Ollie (Damien Oliver) trialed him for us last week and he came through the trial well and Ollie said he went well and was fairly forward in condition.
“We thought if we give him another trial it was going to cost us $300 to lug him to Cranbourne and it was $4000 for running eighth here.
“Even if he ran eighth we wouldn’t have been disgraced and we’d have had money in the bank, but anything can happen in racing when you’ve got a good horse.”
Mourinho started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a win at Moonee Valley over 1500 metres at Moonee Valley on August 23 and he finished behind The Cleaner in both the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at the same venue on September 6 and the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) on September 26 before he returned to winning form in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 12.
The seven-year-old was included in the entries for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) that was run at Moonee Valley on October 25, but the Moonee Valley Racing Club Committee did not include him in the final field and he was instead saved for the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 1.
Mourinho was purchased for just $36,000 at the 2009 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale and has now accumulated over $800,000 in prizemoney for connections.