Willie Mullins hoping Simenon rises to the challenge
Simenon was among the first batch of horses to fly out to Australia for Melbourne Cup
Trainer Willie Mullins
The six-year-old chased home Estimate in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot back in June while he was just edged out by Ahzeemah in a close finish to the Lonsdale Cup at York last time.
Simenon was among the first batch of horses to fly out to Australia on Thursday and Mullins is hoping the Marju gelding will rise to the challenge.
“I think he’s got some speed and plenty of stamina. Both the races he won at Royal Ascot last year showed a lot of speed and I think this year he has improved and I’m hoping we might squeeze a little bit more improvement out of him on the way down to Melbourne,” he said.
“He’s got lots of stamina and I think because we trained him for a flat season this year rather than a jumps season, he’s improved and I hope we can get a little more out of him by the time he gets to Australia.”
Mullins sent Holy Orders to finish 17th in the Melbourne Cup in 2003 without the benefit of a prep run in Australia.
The trainer could give Simenon an outing before his Flemington date but insists all avenues are open on which race and who will ride.
He said: “Nothing is set in concrete. We have a few options and I’ll be looking at all of them.
“I’d probably prefer to run in a race earlier (than the Caulfield Cup on October 19) as that would give me more time to prepare for Melbourne. Usually in Europe we would like a longer time between races.
“I felt the last time I came over that if I came back, I’d like to do the early quarantine and give myself more options.
“He could be (suited by the Caulfield Cup). A lot will depend on the draw. We’ve not been lucky twice this year, especially in Ascot where we got drawn in the car park and you just get into a lot of trouble, but we’re hoping we might get a better drawn when we get down there.
“The Herbert Power (October 12) is another option.
“We are keeping all options open (with jockeys). We have been very lucky with Ryan Moore, Johnny Murtagh’s been good on him this year, a couple of Irish jockeys that have ridden him at home here are looking for a spin and we’ve had a couple of inquiries from Australia.
“Until we get there and make sure that the horse is fine, I’m not too worried about jockeys. It’s not one of the things I worry about usually. I’d like to get the horse there in one piece and then worry about jockeys.
“He hasn’t flown before but he has travelled so I’m hoping he will settle in all right. ”