Trainer Peter Gelagotis was understandably thrilled with the results posted by Mourinho through his 2015 preparations and has revealed he will set his stable star for a second-consecutive appearance in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) during the 2016 Autumn Carnival.
Mourinho returned to racing in autumn this year for a shock win as an outsider in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1400m) on January 24th; progressing to third in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) and returning to winning form in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) before failing to fire in the Australian Cup and subsequently returning to the paddock.
Delivering a talented field defeat in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) upon resuming in spring, the Oratorio gelding ran sixth in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) on September 5th before delivering Gelagotis his first win at the highest level in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) on September 26th.
Mourinho was unable to make anything of a competitive impact in the Cox Plate (2040m) most recently on October 24th, Gelagotis is confident the eight-year-old will return to racing in top shape in 2016 and will be up to Group 1 quality.
“He’s got to the stage now where that’s his life,” Gelagotis told AAP.
“He’s going to have to compete at the highest level because that’s where his rating is.
“You can’t go backwards on what he’s achieved to date as everything has been upwards and upwards for him.
“Eventually the fairy-tale will have to come to an end.
“He’s not showing any chinks in his armour at this stage.
“Hopefully there’s still 12 to 18 months of good racing in him and he can then retire at the top of his game.”
Mourinho has claimed eleven wins and a further nine minors through his 39 career starts so far and debuted to competition for the Gelagotis operation in the dying stages of 2010.
Arguably making his biggest step-up in class through the 2014 edition of the Spring Carnival, Mourinho ran second in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes and third in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m); taking out the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) before placing a credible seventh amongst classy competition in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) in November.