herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Willie Mullins makes midweek visit to UK with a mission for Simenon

Willie Mullins
Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins will make a rare midweek visit to the UK at this time of year when sending over Simenon to contest the Group Three Cantor Fitzgerald Investment Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

The eight-year-old hasn’t raced since winning over hurdles at Tipperary last July but he heads to Sandown tomorrow night in preparation for a third crack at the Ascot Gold Cup next month.

Twice a winner at the Royal meeting when he won both the Ascot Stakes and the Queen Alexandra Stakes there in the one week in 2012, Simenon is beginning to return to better form according to his trainer Willie Mullins.

“The aim is to get him ready for the Ascot Gold Cup and I’m happy to let him take his chance over there,” Mullins told The Herald yesterday.

“He had been disappointing me all spring but he has worked nicely in the last 10 days so we’ll go over and let him take his chance.”

Simenon, who finished fourth in the 2013 Melbourne Cup, was just touched off by a neck behind Estimate in that year’s Ascot Gold Cup and lost little in defeat last year when finishing fifth behind Leading Light at odds of 14/1 and for now that race is the main focus of his plans.

“This race comes at a better time ahead of Royal Ascot rather than waiting another week for an opportunity in Ireland, unless we ran him over hurdles and I don’t think there was anything suitable there either.

“Simenon’s only long-term plan at the moment is Royal Ascot and getting him there. I would imagine after that we’ll look at all those other staying races but he’ll be our only runner in the Gold Cup and that is his main aim for now.

“We were delighted to get Ryan Moore to ride him, he knows the horse and the ground at Sandown looks like it should suit so we’ll see how we go,” Mullins added.

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