Willie Mullins is one of the most successful jumps racing trainers in the world but this year has set his sights on contesting the Melbourne Cup with talented stayer Simenon.
Mullins has been the Champion National Hunt Trainer in Ireland for the last six years and his star jumper Hurricane Fly has dominated the major hurdle races in the United Kingdom in recent seasons but the colourful Irishman is no stranger to training a champion over the flat.
While Simenon is yet to break through for a win at Group level he has impressed significantly since returning from a spell in May this year and is a proven performer under handicap conditions.
The son of Marju carried the top weight of 61.5kg when finishing fourth in the Chester Cup (3755m) and finished an unlucky second behind Estimate in the Ascot Gold Cup (4023m) during the Royal Ascot Meeting in June.
Racing Victoria’s International Scout Leigh Jordon told Racing Ahead that Simenon was clearly a talented stayer but would need to win a high quality race to receive enough weight to qualify for the 2013 Melbourne Cup field.
“Here we are talking about a horse that finished second in the Ascot Gold Cup that probably has an issue getting into the race but Willie is really keen on coming,” Jordon said.
“He said he was going to run in the Lonsdale Cup next and we will wait and see what he does there.”
The Lonsdale Cup (3299m) is a Group 2 event that will be run at York on August 24 and a win in the race would significantly increase Simenon’s chances of getting a start in the Melbourne Cup.
The 2012 Lonsdale Cup was won by Times Up, who has been touted as a possible Melbourne Cup runner in the past two years, and the event has previously been used as a lead-up race for the Melbourne Cup
Godolphin stayer Persian Punch won the race in 2001 before going on to run third behind Ethereal in the 2001 Melbourne Cup while Irish stayer Septimus won the race before going on to finish eighteenth in the 2008 edition of ‘the race that stops a nation’.