Mourinho is likely to get his Group One chance in the Mackinnon Stakes after connections’ hopes of a Cox Plate start fell flat.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club committee used its discretion to leave Mourinho out of Saturday’s Cox Plate when it decided the capacity 14-horse field after 16 acceptances were taken on Tuesday.
Seven-year-old Mourinho and three-year-old Chivalry failed to get in but three-year-olds Sweynesse and Wandjina gained places in the field.
Manny Gelagotis, racing manager for his brother, trainer Peter Gelagotis, said Mourinho’s owners were entitled to be disappointed.
The decision means the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday week is likely for the last-start Cranbourne Cup winner.
“He’ll probably go to the Mackinnon. We just need to move forward,” Gelagotis said.
While Gelagotis accepted the decision, he remained convinced Mourinho’s recent form warranted his inclusion.
The horse finished second to The Cleaner in the Group Two Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at weight-for-age, was third in the JRA Cup at Moonee Valley and won the Listed Cranbourne Cup.
“I think we all understood that we were vying for the final spot, I suppose,” Gelagotis said.
“And of the ones that were vying for the spot, I feel disappointed that Wandjina got in before him.”
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Wandjina’s best spring performance has been his Caulfield Guineas third, the same position Shamus Award filled last year before he won the Cox Plate.