The Tony McEvoy-trained duo of Mouro and Pelicano have both been included in the nominations for both the 2014 Brisbane Handicap at Doomben and the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) in Sydney on Saturday.
Mouro suffered an injury when he finished seventh in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) in May, but returned to racing with a close second behind Heart Testa in the Cellarbrations Kingswood Handicap (1350m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 15.
McEvoy was keen to run Mouro in the Listed Recognition Stakes (1630m) at Doomben on November 29, but was scratched from the race after drawing a wide barrier and he instead ran in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens where he finished a disappointing tenth.
Track conditions may play a role in McEvoy’s decision on where to run Mouro this weekend and it is likely that he will remain in New South Wales for the Villiers Stakes rather than head to Queensland for the Brisbane Handicap due to the heavy rain that has hit Sydney in the past week.
Pelicano has not been seen at the races since he took out the Listed Werribee Cup (2600m) due to undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip from his hind leg.
The Courts Of Jewel gelding seemed to show no lasting effects from the operation when he recorded an impressive win in a barrier trial over 1200 metres at Royal Randwick on December 1 and the six-year-old is expected to return to racing in the Villiers Stakes this weekend before pressing on to the Group 3 Summer Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Boxing Day.
Pelicano made his racing debut in 2011 and he recorded five wins in his first seven starts before he finished tenth behind Zabeelionaire in the 2012 edition of the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville.
The consistent gelding recorded his maiden win at black type level when he took out the Listed Birthday Cup (2035m) at Morphettville in February last year and he made it two wins on the trot with a tough victory in the Listed Parramatta Cup (2000m).
Pelicano made a fair start to his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign before he returned to winning form in the Listed Murray Bridge Gold Cup (1600m) on October 16 and he finished second behind subsequent Sydney Cup winner The Offer in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) ahead of his Werribee Cup triumph.
McEvoy is chasing his first win in the Villiers Stakes after he finished eighth with Sysmo in last year’s race.