2015 Cox Plate Aim for Mourinho

January 22nd, 2015

Veteran galloper Mourinho will be given a light autumn campaign with his trainer Peter Gelagotis’s major aim being the Cox Plate 2015 this October.

Mourinho

Mourinho will run in the Australian Cup this autumn but target the 2015 Cox Plate in the spring. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

The seven-year-old Oratorio gelding narrowly missed out on a run in the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, something the Moe-based Gelagotis hopes to atone for this year.

“Our goal, if possible and if the ability allows, to try and have a crack at the Cox Plate,” he told RSN’s Racing & Sports.

“You can only live the dream!”

Mourinho enjoyed a good start to his spring in 2014 with a first-up Moonee Valley win followed by a second to The Cleaner in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and a third behind the same star Tassie champ in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) in September.

While those runs at the Valley were eye-catching and showed he was more than comfortable at the notoriously tight course, they weren’t enough to earn him a start in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship back at the track.

Instead Mourinho won the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 12 before running an honest seventh in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington behind Happy Trails on Derby Day.

This spring he’ll follow a similar path but hopefully make the cut for a start in the Cox Plate field, the horse paying $61 in the futures Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au that are currently led by the defending champ Adelaide ($9).

Before the spring however Gelagotis has a four-run Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign planned for the evergreen warhorse who only looks to be improving with the years.

“He’s been ticking along really nice,” Gelagotis said.

“He had a jump-out on Monday and showed a lot of flair and a lot of pizazz in his half-mile trial.

“He’s showing sharper qualities and more composure, that’s the key, more composure in himself.”

He resumes this Saturday at his pet track at Moonee Valley in the $200,000 Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m), a short-distance race Gelagotis believes he can be competitive in this time in.

“We thought it would be more beneficial to get a little short race under his belt three weeks before the mile then he’s a chance to earn some prize money while gaining fitness,” he said.

“He can rattle off a rally good race fresh now.

“In previous campaigns he didn’t do that, he’d crash and burn a little bit.

“He seems to be a bit more furnished and a bit more seasoned.

“He’s putting it together over shorter distances which he probably couldn’t do in the past.”

From there he will contest the $150,000 Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14 and then the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) a fortnight later.

Those races will lead into his autumn Grand Final, the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington Racecourse on March 14.

“Just the traditional Australian Cup preparation,” he said.

“We’ll go to the mile race on the 14th of February then a fortnight later the Peter Young then a run int the Australian Cup.

“That will be his campaign for the autumn and he’ll come back and follow a similar path to see if we can get into the Cox Plate.

“Hopefully we can place in a Group 1 and can qualify the Cox Plate next time in.

“If he can win the Dato that will get us in.

“He’s taken the next step and he needs to take another step.

“But he’s very progressive. He’s not showing his age in any way, he’s actually getting better so we’ll strike while the iron’s hot.”

Stay tuned for all the latest on the 2015 Cox Plate field, pre-nominations for which are open online now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $250 bonus sign-up bet for new depositing players that quote the code BETBONUS!