Irish-trained stayer Simenon may be forced to miss the 2014 Melbourne Cup after he suffered a stress fracture following his win in the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle (3218m) at Tipperay on July 12.
Simenon came to Australia for the Spring Racing Carnival last year and performed well in his two races starts in Melbourne; finishing a close third behind Sea Moon in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 12 before finishing fourth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5.
Trainer Willie Mullins was expected to bring Simenon back to Melbourne for another tilt at ‘the race that stops a nation’ and the Marju gelding remains a chance to campaign in Australia in the spring, but will be kept out of racing for almost two months while he recovers from the injury.
“He will not run in Galway; he got a stress fracture after Tipperary,” Mullins told Racing Post.
“He was a little stiff for a few days and he didn’t come right.
“I thought it was maybe the firm ground at the time, but it turns out he has a stress fracture above his right knee and will have six weeks off.
“It was great that the hurdles prize was there to be won and while it is disappointing, in the overall scheme of things it’s more of nuisance than anything else.
“I’ve no plans.”
Simenon made his racing debut for former trainer Andrew Balding in 2009 and has performed consistently at Group level since he made his black type racing debut in the Group 3 Solario Stakes (1408m) in August of 2009.
The veteran stayer joined the Mullins stable at the end of 2011 and was converted into a hurdler, taking out his second race start over the jumps, before impressing in his return to flat racing in 2012 with wins in the Ascot Handicap (4023m) and Queen Alexandra Stakes (4369m) during the 2012 Royal Ascot Meeting.
Simenon made his Group 1 debut with a fifth place finish in the 2012 edition of the Irish St. Leger and was set for a Melbourne Cup campaign after he finished second in both the Group 1 Gold Cup (4023m) and Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) during the 2013 European racing season.
After finishing fourth in the Melbourne Cup, he was sent to Tokyo for the Group 1 Japan Cup (2413m) and finished 13th before finishing a credible fifth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on December 8 last year.
Simenon made a slow start to the 2014 racing season, but returned to winning form with strong effort in the Grimes Hurdle and is now available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $26 with Ladbrokes Australia.