Irish stayer Simenon finished a brave fourth in the 2013 Melbourne Cup and according to connections is ready to run an even better race in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2400m) in Tokyo this weekend.
Simenon arrived in Australia after two second place finishes in the Group 1 Gold Cup (4023m) at Royal Ascot and the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) in the United Kingdom and surprised even his own connections with the turn-of-foot he exhibited when finishing third behind Sea Moon and Oasis Bloom in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield.
The Marju gelding was one of the best-backed runners in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup and finished an impressive fourth behind Fiorente, Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos despite being caught three horses wide in the early stages of the race.
Simenon has never previously travelled overseas and Emmet Mullins, the nephew of trainer Willie Mullins, said that the entire team could not be more impressed with how the six-year-old has handled his international racing debut.
“Things have been going great,” Mullins told At The Races.
“He surprised us every step of the way how he travelled in the Melbourne Cup and it was almost unbelievable.
“He has never flown before so that was always a worry, he can be a bit skittish, but he’s handled it all brilliantly.”
Simenon arrived at the Tokyo Racecourse earlier this week, along with 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden, and Mullins has been delighted with how the tough stayer has settled into his new environment.
The former hurdler took part in some speed work this morning and, although he did not break the clock, Mullins is confident that Simenon has taken plenty of improvement out of his run in the Melbourne Cup and he is primed for the Japan Cup on Sunday.
“I’ve been riding him all the way through and we thought he’d improved coming up to the Melbourne Cup and he’s done the same here again,” Mullins said.
“Everyone seems to be happy with him.
“It’s a good climb the whole way to the final furlong and hopefully the race will pan out nicely for him.”
Simenon will be the first Irish-trained horse to win the Japan Cup since Stanerra in 1983 if he is successful in the Group 1 event.