Mourinho A Confirmed Orr Stakes Starter

By: Thomas Hackett
February 10th, 2015

Trainer Peter Gelagotis has confirmed that Mourinho will take his place in the 2015 Orr Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

Mourinho scored the biggest win of his racing career to date in the 2015 Australia Stakes. Photo by: Adrienne Bicknell

Mourinho scored the biggest win of his racing career to date in the 2015 Australia Stakes. Photo by: Adrienne Bicknell

Mourinho was set to start his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield this weekend, but connections elected to give the Oratorio gelding an opportunity in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) and that decision paid off when he recorded an upset win over It Is Written and Dissident.

The seven-year-old was given a quiet barrier trial at Cranbourne yesterday and, after consulting with jockey Vlad Duric, Gelagotis told Racing Ahead that he had made the decision to run Mourinho in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m).

“He is very well and he came through that trial beautiful,” Duric said.

“He wasn’t knocked around, he had his head on his chest the whole way and he has come through it really nice.

“He (Vlad) felt that the horse went really well and he was really sharp and really strong on the bridle.

“We are going to stick our neck out and have a crack at the Orr.

“The form line around Mourinho is good and we have actually had a handful of winners in the last week.

“It is very encouraging going forward.”

While Gelagotis is thrilled with the physical condition of Mourinho, he admits that his star galloper faces a tough assignment in the Orr Stakes, which is set to include Group 1 winners Happy Trails, Dissident, Sonntag and Beaten Up.

Mourinho has a fair second-up record and finished second behind The Cleaner in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) last spring, but Gelagotis said that he is unsure how the veteran gelding will fire after starting his campaign over such a short trip.

“I am a realist and it is going to be interesting to see how he goes,” Gelagotis said.

“We did something left field the other day and the fresh run is out of him, whether he still has that freshness and sharpness second-up over 1400 metres will be a brand new learning curve for us.

“I have tried to keep a lid on him as best as we can and I believe that he will be sharp, but it will just be nice to see it unfold.”

Damien Oliver was booked to ride Mourinho in the Carlyon Cup, but he was already committed to Happy Trails in the Orr Stakes and that means Duric is able to retain the ride on Mourinho after steering him to victory in the Australia Stakes.

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