Trainer Peter Gelagotis has revealed that he would be happy to scratch Mourinho from the 2016 Australia Stakes if last year’s winner does not draw an inside gate when the final field is released tomorrow afternoon.
Mourinho upstaged short-priced favourite Dissident to record an upset victory in the Australia Stakes last year, but the 2016 edition of the race is set to be feature much more depth after the likes of Rebel Dane, Trust In A Gust and Hucklebuck were all included in the nominations.
Gelagotis admits that Mourinho faces a far more difficult task in the 2016 Australia Stakes and he believes that the veteran gelding requires an inside gate to be any chance of joining Black Caviar as the only two-time winner of the race.
“With the quality of field that has been presented in noms, it is a lot different race to last year and I am very mindful that he needs to draw an inside alley and have everything go his way to be winning over 1200,” Gelagotis told Racing Ahead.
“It is a stepping stone going forward.
“If we don’t draw well then we need to reassess and we will just keep him ticking over and produce him fresh in the Orr.
“We have options and we have good options.
“There is no pressure at this end and hopefully it all pans out for us.
“If it doesn’t we can make decisions accordingly, but it is looking good at the moment.”
While Gelagotis is unsure whether Mourinho will take his place in the Australia Stakes field, he could not be happier with the physical condition of the Oratorio gelding.
Gelagotis said that he has followed the same formula with Mourinho as he did before the Australia Stakes last year and he believes that his star galloper will be fresh enough to run well if he takes his place in the Group 2 event.
“He is good and he is tracking along nicely,” Gelagotis said.
“I’ve had an extra week up my sleeve – he had an extra week in the paddock and he has come back a week earlier- and I have just followed the same program as I did this time last year.
“The only exemption is that I am not trialing him this time because I want to go into the race with plenty of freshness on our side.
“He is not showing any signs of wear or tear or any aging whatsoever.
“We are lucky that we have an environment where we can get our horses out into the paddock in an afternoon and he shows me enough zest in the legs that is still has plenty to give.”
Mourinho was purchased for $36,000 at the 2009 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale and he has now accumulated over $1.3 million in prizemoney for connections.