Simenon capable of becoming rare Irish Melbourne Gold Cup winner
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon may have been bred in Ireland, but Irish-trained winners are few and far between in Australia’s leading 2m marathon.
It is over 10 years since Dermot Weld saddled Media Puzzle to victory in 2002, but there is optimism that this drought could be ended by Simenon this year.
Simenon was being seriously considered for the race last year after his two victories at Royal Ascot, but didn’t meet the criteria to take part, but his second in the Ascot Gold Cup behind Estimate means there are no such concerns this year.
Trainer Willie Mullins has had one entrant in the Melbourne Gold Cup previously when Holy Orders was a distant 17th a decade ago, but is keen to return.
He said: “The plan this year is to take him to the Melbourne Cup and I always said that if I had a horse good enough to run there then I would love to go back.”
Simenon ran a career best in the Ascot Gold Cup over 2m4f, despite not having the ideal run of the race, and there is every reason to believe that the slight drop back in trip will be to his advantage.
Meanwhile, Mullins has shown that he is capable of preparing a horse for a top overseas race, after Blackstairmountain landed the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan in April.
Pivotal to his chances could be getting Simenon to Australia relatively early to get over any jet lag and become more accustomed to the climate.
Mullins feels the same and has revealed that if the final decision is made to send Simenon to the Melbourne Cup, then the plan would be to find a prep race in Australia beforehand.
Although the Irish are not regular Breeders Cup winners, it may be significant that Europe have been responsible for two of the last three winners with French pair Americain and Dunaden.
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