As the international Cox Plate contenders were going about their business at Werribee, Mourinho made a trip from his home base for an important jump-out at Cranbourne.
Cox Plate invitees Arod, Gailo Chop and Highland Reel arrived in Melbourne on Saturday and had light exercise at the Werribee quarantine centre on Monday in preparation for the Cox Plate on October 24.
Mourinho furthered his Cox Plate build-up with a 1400m jump-out at Cranbourne which had Moe trainer Peter Gelagotis oozing confidence.
Connections are now looking forward to Mourinho taking his place in the Cox Plate after being left out of the Group One race 12 months ago.
Mourinho stalked the leader in the jump-out and when Vlad Duric asked him for an effort he went to the line strongly to win the heat.
“Mourinho is a very lazy track worker,” Gelagotis said.
“Vlad gave him a shake and a dig without doing anything excessive on him.
“He picked the bit up nicely, responded and went home beautifully.”
After Mourinho won the Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on September 26, Gelagotis elected to bypass Saturday’s Caulfield Stakes won by Criterion.
Gelagotis only recently returned from a raceday treatment suspension and said he wasn’t sure how Mourinho would pull up from that tough run.
He said since he returned to training in the weeks leading into the Underwood, he had used “gut feel” to prepare Mourinho for a first Group One success.
Gelagotis doesn’t see the four weeks between the Underwood and Cox Plate as a problem.
“These international horses go into it with no runs under their belt and they come out of quarantine and win it,” Gelagotis said.
“He’s had good steady work since his last run, building towards the trial and he’s come through it in flying colours.”
Gelagotis said Mourinho wouldn’t have blown a candle out after his work-out and was relaxed when he returned to his home base.
“I’m looking forward to a fortnight’s time,” Gelagotis said.
“He’s got the right CV and credentials and he won’t be disappointing.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au