Irish trainer Willie Mullins will get a clearer picture tomorrow at Caulfield how well his stayer Simenon is progressing as he heads towards the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5.
The Irish stayer is having his first start in Australia in the Group 2 $220,000 Sportingbet Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield as a final hit out for the Melbourne Cup in just over three weeks.
Mullins doesn’t expect the part time hurdler to shine over the 2400m but the bookies are playing it safe and have installed the seven year old on the third line of betting at $5.50 behind Sea Moon ($3.70) and Kesampour ($3.90).
“I’m very happy with the horse, very happy with how he’s going through quarantine,” Mullins told the Herald Sun.
“All is going well, looking forward to tomorrow
“I’m hoping that he just runs a good race.
“We haven’t run him over this trip.
“I think it will be a good introduction to Australian racing for him.”
Mullins mixes Simenon’s races between flat racing and the jumps and he rarely runs at the shorter distance of 2400m, but is using the Herbert Power to familiarise the seven year old with Australian conditions.
“He is in the Melbourne Cup and I just think it gives him more time between the two races,” Mullins said.
“The Herbert Power gives us a few more days and I was happy to do that rather than go for the bigger prizemoney in the Caulfield Cup.
“We are out here to hopefully get into the Melbourne Cup and run well in that.”
Simenon’s last two runs have been over 4000m at Royal Ascot and 3300m at York with placings in both.
Simenon carried 58kg and jumped from barrier thirteen when second in the Group 1 £350,000 The Gold Cup (4000m) at Royal Ascot on June 20 then ran second again in the Group 2 £150,000 Weatherby’s Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup (3300m) at York on August 23.
Mullins will also get a good guide in the Hebert Power coming up against the Robert Hickmott trained import Sea Moon who raced in pretty company in England and recorded a win over 2011 Melbourne Cup quinella, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux, in the 2012 Group 2 £200,000 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m) at Royal Ascot.
An encouraging run tomorrow could see Simenon’s Melbourne Cup price shorten from the $26 that is currently on offer while a good performance from Sea Moon could also see him firm up from the $21.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente heads the Cup betting at $5.50 in front of Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur at $8 and one time favourite Puissance De Lune at $11.