Mourinho will return to the races in the 2015 P.B. Lawrence Stakes and trainer Darryl Blackshaw is very happy with the veteran gelding ahead of the Group 2 event at Caulfield on Saturday.
Mourinho has not been seen at the races since he failed to fire in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14, but he made the first public appearance of his spring preparation when he performed well in a jump out at Sale last weekend.
Blackshaw, who is training Mourinho while his regular trainer Peter Gelagotis serves a suspension for a race day treatment, told Racing Ahead that everybody associated with Mourinho is happy with the eight-year-old and he did not rule out a repeat of Mourinho’s first-up heroics in the autumn, where he upset Dissident to win the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
“He is working good,” Blackshaw said.
“We trialed him last week at Sale and he trialed really nicely over 800.
“Vlad was very, very happy with him and we gave him a good bit of work yesterday and he worked really strong to the line.
“It is all going good, but it is a bit of guesswork for us.
“All the people involved with him are very happy and the 1400 is probably going to be better than he started in the autumn.
“He is very, very well.”
Owner Tony Ferraro revealed last month that the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) will be the major 2015 Spring Racing Carnival target for Mourinho, but Blackshaw is yet to decide on the path that the veteran gelding will follow to get to the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Mourinho is set to have his next race start in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 and he will then press on to either the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 19 or the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 in the lead-up to the Cox Plate.
The Oratorio gelding narrowly missed out on a place in the 2014 Cox Plate field, but he has since take out the Australia Stakes, finished third in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and won the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m), which connections believe is enough to convince the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee that he is worthy of a place in the $3 million race.
Mourinho is currently available at 2015 P.B. Lawrence Stakes odds of $7 with Ladbrokes and he is on the fourth line of betting behind Smokin’ Joey ($3.60), Dibayani ($4) and Excess Knowledge ($4.60).