CHAMPION Peter Gelagotis-trained racehorse Mourinho will run in the Cox Plate on Saturday after making the final acceptances list on Tuesday.
The Bay Gelding survived the final cut from the Moonee Valley committee after John O’Shea trained Contributor made way for stablemate Complacent in the field of 14.
Mourinho was axed from last year’s weight for age championship after connections fronted the $100,000 late entry fee, but strengthened his claim for a berth in 2015 with a breakthrough group one win at the Underwood Stakes.
Since being overlooked for the 2014 Cox Plate, the Moe trained horse has won the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) and Group 2 Lawrence Stakes (1400m) and the Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Face of the stable Manny Gelagotis said it was an honour to get a run in what he described as “the greatest race in Australasia”.
“It’s just a privilege to have a horse that’s good enough to be in the field, so you know it’s exciting; it’s really great this year that the horse is in great form and we’re going to get a chance to run in the biggest race,” he said.
“For a horse from our area it’s unbelievable.”
Mourinho will run from barrier 12 with Vlad Duric to ride the eight year-old.
Gelagotis said despite the draw the horse had every chance of taking the title.
“The barrier’s a bit tricky but it might also suit him,” Gelagotis said.
“At the end of the day he’s a live chance. His form is very good, from his last start… the Caulfied Cup winner (Mongolian Khan) has come from his previous win, so it’s a very healthy formline to have and it’s a very open race.”
The Cox Plate will be staged at Moonee Valley on Saturday over 2040m.
1. Criterion 59kg (7)
2. Fawkner 59kg (14)
3. Happy Trails 59kg (13)
4. Hartnell 59kg (3)
5. Mourinho 59kg (12)
6. The Cleaner 59kg (2)
7. Pornichet 59kg (11)
8. Arod 59kg (5)
9. Complacent 59kg (6)
10. Gailo Chop 59kg (8)
11. Kermadec 57.5kg (10)
12. Preferment 57.5kg (9)
13. Highland Reel 56kg (4)
12. Winx 55.5kg (1)