CHAMPION Moe racehorse Mourinho has done Gippsland racing proud yet again with an outstanding win in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes over 1800 metres at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Oratorio seven year-old gelding will now target the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000 metres) at Flemington on 14 March.
It was career win number nine from 34 starts, and the horse that cost $36,000 has now amassed $963,997.
The Peter Gelagotis-trained galloper travelled beautifully in the run, just off a hot speed, jockey Vlad Duric let him loose on straightening, and despite hanging out badly, he was too good scoring an impressive win over Happy Trails and Akzar.
The 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist was well-backed and found the line well late, but proved no match for Mourinho on the day.
It has been a successful and lucrative campaign for Mourinho, with a win first up in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on 24 January, followed by a third in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 14 February.
The horse will have a spell following the Australian Cup before coming back for a Cox Plate campaign.
Post race Gelagotis was ecstatic and the mounting yard celebrations were wild.
“This horse is absolute flying,” Gelagotis said.
“Last preparation he took a step-up in his career and he went out for a nice break and he has exceeded our expectations so far.
“Coming into today’s race we had a lot of confidence and on paper to me the horse looked like the winner, but you just like to see them keep progressing and improving.
“I don’t want to sound over the top, but he is just in vintage form for a horse of this stature and you just can’t ask for any more.
“He just tries, he is honest, he is consistent and he is a real true competitor. He does us really proud and our owners and our family back home.”
Team Gelagotis was disappointed during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival when the Moonee Valley Racing Club Committee decided not to include Mourinho in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) field as a late entry.
Stable manager Manny Gelagotis did not miss the opportunity to set the record straight after his most recent win.
“I’m very pleased that the gelding has shown that they weren’t crazy trying to get him into the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship,” he said.
“The Australian Cup is going to be a different challenge going back to Flemington, but he has done a great job and he is a proven weight-for-age horse.
“I am sort of more pleased because we kicked up last year with the Cox Plate and I am happy that the horse has proved that our judgment was right.”
PETER Gelagotis-trained five year-old Fastnet Rock stallion Hvasstan is progressing well leading in to his final racing campaign in Queensland.
The plan is for Hvasstan to compete through the Winter Racing Carnival, then embark on a stud career in the sunshine state.
Managing owner Manny Gelagotis reported “Hvasstan has now completed six weeks with Tony Gollan, he’s settled in and going well, so fingers crossed for the winter carnival coming up in Queensland”.
Hvasstan has raced 31 times for four wins and four placings, amassing prize money of $432,735.
He also ran fourth in the two biggest three year-old races of his year, the G1 VRC Derby and G1 Australian Guinness.
His biggest win to this stage is the G3 Norman Robinson Stakes (although he was also first past the post in the G2 Alastair Clark Stakes but subsequently lost the race due to a swab irregularity).
Manny Gelagotis also reported that a deal to stand at a Queensland stud had nearly been completed.
LOCAL trainer John Kilgower has regained the lead in 2014-2015 Picnic Racing Trainers Premiership, after Mt Sugarloaf saluted in a 1300 metre restricted race at Alexandra on Saturday.
Mt Sugarloaf (six year-old by Perfectly Ready) was handled beautifully by Moe jockey Grant Seccombeand scored his second win from 47 starts, to go with 13 minor placings, and $20,955 in stakes.
Connections were rewarded for patience, with Mt Sugarloaf’s previous win on Melbourne Cup Day at Bairnsdale in 2012.
With six picnic meetings remaining, Kilgower – the winner of 2013-2014 Trainers Premiership – holds a one win lead over Seymour trainer Mark Thomas.
Team Kilgower will have a huge contingent at Hinnomunje on Saturday and an intriguing battle will continue in the next month.