Trainer Tony McEvoy has revealed that Mouro is no certainty to contest the 2014 Villiers Stakes at Royal Randwick on December 13 after he failed to fire in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Mouro returned to the races with a promising second place finish behind Heart Testa in the Cellarbrations Kingswood Handicap (1350m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 15 and was well-backed in the lead-up to the Festival Stakes, but never looked comfortable in the run and could finish no better than tenth.
McEvoy said that Mouro performed well short of what he is capable of in the Festival Stakes, but believes that there could be a few excuses for the poor performance of the Grand Slam entire in the Listed event.
“He raced miles below what we thought he would,” McEvoy told TVN.
“He felt the run a bit, was a little jarred-up, but Kerrin (McEvoy) came back and didn’t put any blame on the track; he said there was a really good cover of grass.
“Mind you, the horse hasn’t left an oat, so that’s a good sign.
“He got very hot at one stage and even in the first 100 metres he couldn’t hold a spot, when we thought he was going to settle right on the back of the leaders.”
The Villiers Stakes was set to be the major goal for Mouro this preparation before he was sent to the spelling paddock for a brief freshen-up before a 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign, but McEvoy said that he will need to closely assess the five-year-old in the next week before he commits to running him in the Group 2 event that offers the winner ballot-exempt entry into the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
“I haven’t made my mind up yet whether he’ll still go to the Villiers in two weeks,” McEvoy said.
“I’ll have a good look at him over the next week before we make any decision about that.”
The poor performance of Mouro capped off a disappointing week for Tony McEvoy after he finished winless in both Sydney and Adelaide and was denied the opportunity by the Australian Turf Club to acquire the Royal Randwick stables that were previously filled by retiring trainer Graeme Begg.
Festival Stakes winner I’m Imposing, runner-up Estonian Princess and the fast-finishing Sir Moments are all set to back-up in the Villiers Stakes, while Generalife has been sent to the spelling paddock following his game third.