Simenon flies Irish flag in €4.1m Japan Cup

Hugely-exciting Annie Power puts her unbeaten record on the line at Ascot

Simenon will again be ridden by Richard Hughes in the Japan Cup after the partnership’s creditable fourth in the Melbourne Cup earlier this month. Photograph: PA Wire

Simenon will again be ridden by Richard Hughes in the Japan Cup after the partnership’s creditable fourth in the Melbourne Cup earlier this month. Photograph: PA Wire

 


Willie Mullins’s weekend reach extends from Kilkenny to Ascot, and on to Tokyo where Simenon will fly the Irish flag in the €4.1 million Japan Cup.

It’s seven months since Ireland’s champion jumps trainer picked up the most of half a million euro in Japan for winning the Nakayama Grand Jump with Blackstairmountain but even that pot pales in comparison to the near €2 million the winner will get in tomorrow morning’s big race.

Simenon will again be ridden by Richard Hughes after the partnership’s fourth in the Melbourne Cup earlier this month and they are rated as 14/1 shots to win from stall 14 of a 17-runner field that also includes France’s Dunaden and Joshua Tree from Britain.

Simenon will be just the eighth Irish-trained horse ever to run in the prestigious prize famously won by Frank Dunne’s Stanerra 30 years ago. Mullins’s nephew Emmet has been supervising Simeon’s preparation in the Far East and the trainer’s son, Patrick, gave an upbeat report.

“Emmet’s been delighted with the way he settled in. He did a bit of work during the week that was as good as anything he did in Australia,” he said.

“If we can get a share of the good prize-money, we’ll be delighted. “

Looks very strong
The Japanese team looks very strong with Gold Ship, Eishin Flash and Gentildonna, the mount of Ryan Moore, taking part.

The Japan Cup is due off at 6.55am but Mullins has a very different proposition this afternoon with two runners at his local Gowran track and the hugely-exciting Annie Power putting her unbeaten record on the line in the Grade Two Coral Hurdle at Ascot. The Mullins team has never made any secret of their regard for Annie Power who is a 20/1 shot in some ante-post lists for the Champion Hurdle, a price that will collapse if she can beat Zarkandar today.

That one’s only defeat last season was in the Champion Hurdle and he looks a formidable test of Annie Power’s reputation, especially over this near two-and-a-half-mile trip.

“Zarkandar is one of the top horses around, especially over this distance, but the conditions of the race suit our mare,” Patrick Mullins said yesterday. “She gets 11lb and wouldn’t have got as much if we’d gone for the Hatton’s Grace the following week. “

Roi Du Mee reached Grade One status at Down Royal earlier this month but it looks another level again in today’s Betfair Chase at Haydock where Gordon Elliott’s admirable eight-year-old takes on the Gold Cup winners, Bobs Worth and Long Run, as well as the top-class Silvaniaco Conti, Tidal Bay, Cue Card and Dynaste.

With Ruby Walsh on duty at Ascot, Paul Townend takes the reins on both the chasing newcomer Dogora and Arctic Fire at Gowran and the latter should be hard to beat in the novice hurdle considering how impressive he was on his Tipperary debut.