Tough gelding Mourinho bounced back to his best form to record an impressive win in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
Mourinho failed to fire in his previous starts this preparation but produced an excellent staying performance to win his first race at Group level since his victory in the Tasmanian Derby (2200m) in 2011.
Craig Newitt took Mourinho to the front and the son of Oratorio stayed on strongly to hold off the fast-finishing Gris Caro who went close to maintaining his undefeated record in Australia.
The Gelagotis team has worked hard to get Mourinho back to peak fitness, after he was plagued by injuries in recent years, and Manny Gelagotis was clearly delighted that the six-year-old was able to claim his third victory from six starts at Moonee Valley.
“He is a Moonee Valley specialist,” Manny Gelagotis said.
“He put the writing on the wall last start; I thought that he should have won but he laid around the bend.
“I said to Craig to just be positive; he loves the place and he is ready.
“He is a Group 3 winner, his CV is excellent and it is a great result; I can’t believe it.
An emotional John Gelagotis said that he went into the race full of confidence after Mourinho worked well with stable star Hvasstan at Moonee Valley on Monday and said that Craig Newitt begged him for the ride during the week.
“I came here on Monday and galloped my two good horses and I was so confident with their gallop,” Gelagotis said.
“I said to Manny we are really going places, they have had a couple of runs each and they were coming together really nicely.
“I have done a lot of hard work with him, he broke down and it took a year and a half to get him back, and he was sensational on Cox Plate Day in the Drummond Golf Handicap (2040m) and I just felt that form held him in good stead for today.
“Froggy Newitt is really kicking up for us and all day Monday he pestered me because he thought his work was sensational.”
Newitt was thrilled to win a big race for the Gelagotis family and praised the tough staying performance from the lightly-raced six-year-old.
“They wear their hearts on their sleeves and they were pretty bullish about him like they are every runner,” Newitt said.
“They could have gone another furlong and he would have held him; he gets into that rhythm and has good stamina and he was good on the line.”
Mr Moet started the race as the clear favourite but got too far back in the field and was only able to run on to finish third, while Lightinthenite was under the whip early and never played a factor in the finish.