Hong Kong based Australian jockey Brett Prebble has been booked to ride Mourinho, a late entry for the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The Peter Gelagotis trained Mourinho along with the Gai Waterhouse trained three year old Wandjina were added to the Cox Plate nominations when connections of both horses paid the $130,000 late entry fee to Moonee Valley Racing Club today.
While a start for either horse in the ‘Weight-For-Age Championship Of Australasia’ will be determined by the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee on Tuesday, stable manager Manny Gelagotis is anticipating that Mourinho will make the final field and has booked the Melbourne Cup winning jockey.
“Brett Prebble now fully engaged to come to Australia to ride Mourinho in WS Cox Plate ,” Manny Gelagotis Tweeted.
Gelagotis then told Racenet “We have had a great connection with Brett for a lot of years and we think he suits the horse perfectly.”
“We’ve approached him and he’s been impressed by his tapes but it’s just a matter of getting a start before anything is locked in.”
“His last four starts have shown us the horse has gone to another level,” Gelagotis said.
“I hope the committee look at his recent form because he deserves a place in the field.
“If he gets in, he’ll certainly run a big race and definitely won’t be out of place.”
Mourinho has been racing in the best form of his career with two wins and two seconds from his four starts this campaign.
The seven year old scored a first up win over 1500m at Moonee Valley in an Open Handicap on August 23 before running second to Cox Plate fancy The Cleaner in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6.
Mourinho then chased home The Cleaner again when third in the Group 3 $200,000 Alternate Railway JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on September 26 before heading to Cranbourne to win the Listed $200,000 TAB Cranbourne Cup (2025m) at Cranbourne on October 12.
Prebble has ridden seven winners in the current racing season in Hong Kong and makes regular trips back to Australia to ride during the major Carnivals and was rewarded with the win on Green Moon in the 2012 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
Mourinho is currently listed as a $41 chance in the Cox Plate with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Robert Hickmott trained Fawkner remains at the top of the market order at $4 with the Aidan O’Brien trained super Irish galloper Adelaide the second pick at $5.50 just ahead of Chris Waller’s multiple Group 1 winner Sacred Falls at $6, closely followed by Criterion at $8 and last year’s Cox Plate runner-up Happy Trails at $9.
The consistent Royal Descent is also well up in the market order at $11 with super Kiwi mare Silent Achiever at $13 with the front running The Cleaner at $15.