Mourinho scored a narrow victory over Fawkner and The Cleaner to score his maiden Group 1 win in the 2015 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield this afternoon.
The Cleaner took up the running in the early stages of the Underwood Stakes and he set his trademark hot tempo, while Fawkner and Mourinho were settled just behind the speed.
Hi World took up the challenge to The Cleaner coming around the turn and the cult hero looked like he had his run, but he fought back and it looked like he and Mourinho would fight out the finish like they did in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).
Fawkner took a while to get going before he savaged the line in the final stages of the race, but Mourinho was able to hold on and record a very tough win in the Underwood Stakes that will ensure he earns a start in the 2015 Cox Plate.
Vlad Duric has developed an outstanding association with Mourinho since he steered the eight-year-old to victory in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) earlier this year and the talented hoop was thrilled to record another big race win on the horse that is quickly turning into one of his favourite gallopers.
“He got into a bad spot the other day, but today we drew a bit better and it favoured us really well,” Duric said.
“He just had the peach run and he was able to come into the race when we pleased.
“He nearly threw it away again the bugger when he ran off the track, but god bless him.
“They wrote him off a bit today, but I am just really proud of him and the boys will be tickled pink.
Peter Gelagotis missed Mourinho’s win in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes due to a three month suspension for a race day treatment and he could not hide his delight to have claimed a maiden Group 1 victory.
An emotional Gelagotis was in a philosophical mood after the race, but he eventually confirmed that the Oratorio gelding will press on to the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) after he was controversially denied a place in the race last year.
“It is my first Group 1 winner,” Gelagotis said.
“We have competed and we have really put our horse out there.
“We have backed ourselves and we have backed our horse.
“We have a great group of owners who are in this horse and they are some of the most wonderful people on this earth.
“They deserve this success because they live and breathe their sport.
“A gentlemen once said to me that it is a privilege to be a horse trainer and it is a privilege to have a horse like Mourinho.
“I am just doing my job and it is what I get paid to do.
“I try to do it with distinction and honour and I try to bring my horses to the races in the best possible health and there is no greater reward when you win.
“I don’t know what more I can say.”
Fawkner and The Cleaner both lost no admirers in defeat, but Contributer produced another poor performance and there will be question marks about where he heads for the rest of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.