Vlad Duric has been taking the long and slow approach in his comeback to riding following an injury-enforced break.
But it will step up a notch on Saturday when he partners Mourinho in the Group Two PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Duric spent two months on the sidelines with an injured left shoulder following a trackwork mishap in June.
He returned to race riding with a first-up win at Sandown last week and followed it up with another win at Pakenham last Friday.
While he hasn’t been seen in action since, he’s been getting into race shape by riding work and will head to Sale on Thursday to get his race eye in.
But it’s Mourinho that has Duric excited as the spring approaches.
Before his return victory at Sandown last week, Duric headed to Sale to partner Mourinho in a trial for caretaker trainer Darryl Blackshaw as regular conditioner Peter Gelagotis is sidelined through suspension.
“I’ve ridden him in a couple of gallops and I went down and trialled him at Sale last Wednesday and he trialled really well,” Duric said.
“He feels like he’s kicked on from his last preparation.”
Mourinho hasn’t raced since finishing 13th in the Australian Cup behind Spillway but he had a good start to his last preparation winning the Group Two Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in January.
Following that he stepped up to Group One level finishing less than two lengths from Dissident when third in the CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield.
That effort was over the same journey as Saturday’s return race and Duric is of the opinion the weight-for-age conditions on Saturday will suit.
Duric said he does expect further improvement to come Mourinho while talking of his own condition he thinks he’s nearing his peak.
“I’ve come up well from my break and I’m really looking forward to the next few months ahead,” he said.
The Peter White-trained Inspector was the only extra nomination for the race after 10 original entries at closing time on Monday.
Article from justhorseracing.com.au