Veteran gelding Mourinho has maintained his stellar form with a strong win in the 2015 Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield this afternoon.
Mourinho started his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign with an upset win over Dissident in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24 and he was far from disgraced when third in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 14, but he still started the race at the lengthy quote of $10.
The Oratorio gelding did not do everything right in running, but he was given the opportunity to run home off a strong speed in the 2015 Peter Young Stakes to record an impressive win from Happy Trails and Akzar.
Trainer Peter Gelagotis has been over the moon with the way that Mourinho has returned to racing this preparation and he confirmed that the seven-year-old will press on to the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 following his Peter Young Stakes victory.
“This horse is absolute flying,” Gelagotis said.
“Last preparation he took a step-up in his career and he went out for a nice break and he has exceeded our expectations so far.
“Coming into today’s race we had a lot of confidence and on paper to me the horse looked like the winner, but you just like to see them keep progressing and improving.
“I don’t want to sound over the top, but he is just in vintage form for a horse of this stature and you just can’t ask for anymore.
“He just tries, he is honest, he is consistent and he is a real true competitor.
“He does us really proud and our owners and our family back home.
The Gelagotis stable was devastated during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival when the Moonee Valley Racing Club Committee opted not to include Mourinho in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) field and Racing Manager Manny Gelagotis said that he is pleased that the gelding has shown that they weren’t not crazy trying to get him into the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
“He had to win if the form was true today and I am glad that he did,” Gelagotis said.
“The Australian Cup is going to be a different challenge going back to Flemington, but he has done a great job and he is a proven weight-for-age horse.
“I am sort of more pleased because we kicked up last year with the Cox Plate and I am happy that the horse has proved that our judgment was right.”
2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist was extremely well-backed coming into the Peter Young Stakes and he found the line well, but was unable to go with the field when they sprinted and he never looked like a winning chance.