Mourinho will continue down the Cox Plate path this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival looking to atone for an unplaced run last time out when he contests Saturday’s Underwood Stakes 2015.
The veteran Oratorio eight-year-old is back in the stable of his Moe-based trainer Peter Gelagotis after spending a three month stint with fellow Moe horseman Darryl Blackshaw with Gelagotis serving a suspension.
Assistant trainer and brother to Gelagotis, Manny spoke with AAP this week and said he hoped being back home in familiar surroundings will help unlock winning form from the $1 million earner.
Two back the gelding won the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) first-up at Caulfield before his flat sixth when four lengths off the Tasmanian-trained winner The Cleaner in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley over the mile.
The PB Lawrence was his first win since the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at the same track back in late February and on Saturday Mourinho returns to Caulfield for the ninth time shooting for his third win.
He is nominated for the $400,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), the Hyland Race Colours-sponsored weight-for-age feature attracting 16 early entries on Monday.
Among the most noteworthy nominees are the likes of last start Makybe Diva Stakes winner Fawkner, runner-up Rising Romance who is more like to be saved for Sunday week’s Turnbull Stakes at Flemington and third past the post in that Group 1 lead-up Entirely Platinum for Team Hawkes.
Saturday is Mourniho’s first Group 1 run at Caulfield and Gelagotis is hoping he can improve on his latest start with the three weeks between runs was ideal as the galloper’s work load increased.
“We felt from a stable perspective it was a confusing run (in the Dato), but then he finished besides Contributer (fifth) and here we are saying he was disappointing,” he said.
“Maybe the first-up run took a bit more out of him than what we thought and he galloped a little bit light leading into the race.
“He also had a little bit of low-grade mucus in his throat post-race at Moonee Valley.
“When you’ve got horses that are really genuine you start to go looking for something.”
Mourinho is targeting Australasia’s weight-for-age championship this campaign with a Moonee Valley run on October 24 in the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), second declarations for which closed at midday on Tuesday, on the agenda.
Futures Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au before second acceptances had Mourinho outside the top 20 in betting while fellow Underwood Stakes-nominated Contributer was rated a $13 hope for John O’Shea and the Godolphin stable.
Winner of the Chipping Norton Stakes – Ranvet Stakes double in Sydney during the autumn, Contributer is set to jump favourite in the Underwood Stakes this weekend second-up off the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam fifth.
Dato’ winner The Cleaner meanwhile is also in the Underwood Stakes, the Mick Burles-trained galloper also Cox Plate-bound with the last Underwood winner to come out of the Dato’ being Foreteller (3rd) just last year.
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