An off-hand remark has resulted in Darryl Blackshaw preparing a Group winner after 40 years in racing in Saturday’s Group II PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The previously retired Blackshaw was assisting his son with a small team of horses when his fellow Moe trainer Peter Gelagotis received a three-month ban for raceday treatment in June.
“The morning we got there at the track after he (Gelagotis) had been suspended, I just said jokingly, ‘don’t worry I’ll train them’, and then he said ‘will you?’,” Blackshaw said.
“Then I went and had a couple of days to think about it and I thought being retired, I’ve got nothing else to do. I might as well keep going.”
Blackshaw said keeping Gelagotis’s staff employed was the main reason he took over the training of a 14-strong team, including the multiple Group winner Mourinho.
“We wanted to keep it all in Moe, that’s the main thing, to keep all the staff employed. We just took all the staff over and they all have got a job,” Blackshaw said.
Blackshaw said the staff’s knowledge of Mourinho inspired confidence in the eight-year-old notching another Group II win after claiming the Australia Stakes (1200m) and the Peter Young Stakes (1800m) last time in.
Jockey Vlad Duric positioned Mourinho on the back of the Tasmanian galloper The Cleaner until the son of Oratorio pushed out into clear running at the 300m.
Mourinho ($8) overpowered a tenacious The Cleaner ($10) in the last 50m to get home by a nose while the import Dibayani ($6.50) made a promising start to his Australian career with his third.
Big Memory was supported from $17 into $10 on track before running home well in the straight for fourth.
Blackshaw said Mourinho would have his next and final start for him in the Group II Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5.
A win in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes would guarantee Mourinho a start in the Cox Plate after the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee denied him a place in last year’s weight-for-age championship.
Gelagotis will resume training Mourinho on September 6.