Trainer Peter Gelagotis was thrilled with the results secured by veteran Mourinho over his five race spring preparation and is confident his runner is more than capable of figuring in contention in Saturday’s featured Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Charging home to win a minor over 1500m first-up on August 23rd, Mourinho placed a close second to The Cleaner in the Group 2 Dato’Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) on September 6th; progressing to third in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) before returning to the winner’s circle in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 12th.
Having placed a fighting seventh amongst classy company in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) last time out on November 1st, Gelagotis has been thrilled with the fast progression made by the son of Oratorio in the lead-up to his competitive return and believes previous success on the Moonee Valley track will count for a lot in the Australia Stakes.
“He’s good, really happy. He’s been sort of ticking along really nice and we gave him a jump out on Monday and he really impressed. He showed a lot of flair and a lot of pizzazz,” Gelagotis told Racing Ahead.
“It was a half-mile trial (800m) and he was going to have another trial in a fortnight and then go to the mile race on the 14th of February, the Stakes race on that day and I just felt with the light nominations for the Australia Stakes it’s probably more beneficial for us to get a little short race under his belt.
“He gets round the track real good and finds his form really well there.”
Having previously taken a while to kick into gear, Mourinho has been impressive in his two most recent first-up tilts and will be aimed at new racing heights through the 2015 Australian racing calendar.
“It just seems to me that that’s the way he’s going,” Gelagotis said.
“He’s showing he could be, you know, sharper quality and more composure and I think that’s probably the key … hence he’s able to sprint a bit better.
“His last two campaigns he showed that he can rattle off a really good race fresh.
“Our goal is, if possible and if ability allows to try and have a crack at the Cox Plate.”
Securing seven wins and a further eight minor places over 31 competitive starts so far, Mourinho will leave from barrier 5 in the 2015 Australia Stakes and is available at generous odds of $34 for success with Ladbrokes Australia.