Sim-ple plan well on track
Mullins positive 'professional' Simenon needs just a little luck in Melbourne Cup
DERMOT Weld proved that sending a horse to Australia and winning the Emirates Melbourne Cup could be done. Willie Mullins tried it in 2003 with Holy Orders, but with no success.
In 2013, Mullins is back after a slightly nerve-wracking time of things as connections waited to be assured of a run in the race, and he is now hopeful that Simenon can etch his way into the history of a simply remarkable occasion.
"We brought Holy Orders here and have been looking out for the right horse since, but you also need the right owner as well as the right horse as it costs a lot of money to bring a horse down here," Mullins told the Herald in Melbourne yesterday.
The champion jumps trainer has entrusted nephew Emmet Mullins to oversee the care of the horse while he prepared his enviable team of jumpers for the National Hunt season at home, and said: "I was very happy with Simenon when I saw him on Saturday morning.
"He did a nice piece of work and we can have no complaints. He's looking very well, he's eating well and we are delighted with the way he has handled quarantine and handed his time down here."
Comparing the horse to Holy Orders, Mullins said; "Holy Orders couldn't train down here. He wouldn't eat and he was a bit of a character. Simenon, on the other hand, has been very professional."
Mullins had made the journey down to see Simenon line up in the Herbert Power Stakes over 1m4f, which was used as his prep for the Melbourne Cup. The six-year-old finished third behind Sea Moon, beaten by just three parts of a length.
"You need to have luck in running in the Melbourne Cup and, if you look back to Simenon's run in the Herbert Power, he didn't have luck in running.
"But in fairness to Kerrin McEvoy, he didn't abuse him. He didn't give him a hard race, even though he probably knew it would be his only time to ride him, and he deserves a lot of credit for that." Simenon's campaign had always been with the Melbourne Cup on the agenda and it began with a really good run at Chester, when he finished fourth, and then he was second in both the Ascot Gold Cup and the Lonsdale Cup at York.
"We had tried to come for this race last year, but things didn't work out and, thankfully, they have this year. We are in the race and that is the most important thing. He was 20/1 in the betting and I would be expecting a good run at that price," he said.
Richard Hughes will take the ride and get down to his minimum 8st6lbs on Simenon. He was due to land at 10am local time this morning.
Hughes and Simeon will race out of stall 12 and, although too much can be looked into the stall for a race which is run over 2m, it is a bigger boost than what looked likely as the draw was taking place.
"I was hoping for lower but we haven't got a bad draw and when 21, 22 and 23 were still there, 12 certainly isn't bad."
When a powerful figure in Australian racing such as Gai Waterhouse still hasn't won the Melbourne Cup, you appreciate just how hard it is. And when a legend like Bart Cummings keeps targeting the race (although his runner missed the cut by one this year), you appreciate just how much it means.
Willie Mullins concluded: "We haven't had one setback and we have a professional racehorse.
"If he's not good enough so be it, but we are looking forward to it."