Avontuur’s world class young sire Oratorio could well be represented by a runner in Australia’s premier WFA race, the G1 Cox Plate.
His son Mourinho is being pointed towards that Moonee Valley showpiece race following his gritty win in Saturday’s G2 Back to Caulfield P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield. The 8yo dug down deep to land the G2 feature after fighting out a prolonged battle with the popular galloper The Cleaner in the 1400m race. At the wire, it was Mourinho by nose from The Cleaner, with former Hong Kong galloper Dibayani third and G2 winner Big Memory back in fourth place.
It was trainer Darryl Bradshaw’s biggest ever win, after a career spanning 40 years. Mourinho was making his first start for Bradshaw, who had recently taken over the training duties.
Jockey Vlad Duric has built up a fine relationship with Mourinho, on whom he won the G2 Australia Stakes earlier in the year and the rider was delighted with the win. “”I thought I was going to beat The Cleaner by half to three-quarters of a length and in the end I was struggling to hold him off,” Duric said.
“He’s just a great horse, the second horse.”
Duric expects Mourinho to take great benefit from the race fitness-wise.
“I’m really looking forward to his next run in the Dato and his run after that, then hopefully all going well we go into a Cox Plate with a horse that loves Moonee Valley and deserves his chance,” he said.
Mourinho, one of 44 stakes winners for former European Champion Oratorio, has now won or placed in 19 races and earned over $960 000 in stakes.
Saturday’s win was Mourinho’s seventh pattern race win, with the gelding having also finished third in the G1 William C F Orr Stakes this year.