Stable representative Manny Gelagotis has been happy with the 2015 Cox Plate lead-up form of Mourinho and he believes that his star galloper has the talent to win the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Mourinho was controversially omitted from the Cox Plate field last year, but he has gone to another level in the past 12 months and he was one of 14 horses that were named Cox Plate runners this morning.
The Oratorio gelding started 2015 with the biggest win of his racing career to date when he took out the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24 and he added wins in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) and Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) to his racing resume before he upstaged Fawkner and The Cleaner to take out the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 26.
Gelagotis told Racing Ahead this morning that he has been extremely proud of what Mourinho has been able to achieve in 2015 and he is confident that the eight-year-old will not just be making up the numbers in the 2015 Cox Plate.
“It is our most prestigious Group 1 race and we should protect that, but some of the other horses that got in before Mourinho last year, I think there was a pretty strong case we should have felt letdown,” Gelagotis said.
“Thankfully the horse hasn’t let us down in our opinion and he is worthy this year.
“What pleases me the most is that the scalps he hasn’t taken in the last 12 months are horses of the highest calibre in this country, which makes me really proud of the horse.
“His Underwood time was the quickest in the last 15 years and he did it in style.
“He has great tactical speed and he has the ability to grind and cope with high pressure racing.
“The race last year was set up for the backmarkers, but I think this year it is going to be a more measured race and we all know what to expect with The Cleaner.
“My gut feel is that not many horses can get past The Cleaner and what makes Peter and I excited is that Mourinho has the class and determination to overcome those pain barriers.
“He has the talent to do it.”
Mourinho did not make the trip to Moonee Valley for Breakfast With The Best this morning, but he instead had his final piece of track work at Moe.
Gelagotis said that Mourinho worked over 1000 metres and he said that the entire team were very happy with the physical condition of the Underwood Stakes ahead of the 2015 Cox Plate.
“We are very happy,” Gelagotis said.
“The horse worked sensational and we couldn’t be happier with the horse at the moment.
“He worked over 1000 metres, breezed up really nice and the rider said that he felt enormous.
“He had very similar work going into the Underwood and he has bounced off his jump out.
“It feels great.”
Mourinho is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $31 with Ladbrokes, while Highland Reel ($5) remains a narrow favourite from Criterion ($6), Winx ($7.50) and Kermadec ($8).
You can claim the best odds on every Cox Plate runner with Ladbrokes, who are offering Best Tote or Starting Price +20% on every single race at Moonee Valley on Saturday!