Simenon primed to rule for Mullins in Gold Cup
Dermot Weld will be hoping that the watering that is due to take place at Ascot tonight will be done sufficiently generously to ensure Forgotten Rules' Gold Cup participation.
His Nayef five-year-old's ascent has been of the whirlwind variety, with two taking Group triumphs following a pair of runaway bumper wins last year. All the while, the royal fixture's showpiece Gold Cup has been mooted as the end goal.
At first, Forgotten Rules was discreetly mentioned in conversations surrounding the gruelling two-and-a-half-mile Group One. Once he crossed the line on his Flat debut at the Berkshire track in October, he was propelled to the head of the ante-post betting for the £375,000 contest.
By then, everyone recognised his enormous potential. In a two-mile Group Two run on bottomless ground, Forgotten Rules authoritatively saw off a bunch of seasoned campaigners.
It was the sort of granite performance that you associate with winners of this prestigious event, and he again showed his resilient qualities when denying Answered on his Navan return.
Ballydoyle's re-opposing Kingfisher, well beaten on that occasion, franked the form with a Leopardstown Listed win. There is little doubt, then, that Forgotten Rules is a class act. He is also massively unexposed and has one of the best big-race practitioners around on his back in Pat Smullen.
But, with the ground drying to good to firm, firm in places, there's a chance Forgotten Rules will defect or be unsuited by conditions. All told, Simenon, so gallingly denied by Estimate in 2013, might be the one to keep on side under the excellent James Doyle. Willie Mullins has a stunning record here, Clondaw Warrior on Monday becoming his fourth Royal winner.
Simenon scored twice at the meeting in 2012, and he has since competed effectively at a high level globally. Fourth in last year's Gold Cup, he enjoyed a rare break after winning over flights at Tipperary on his next start.
He returned at Sandown last month, running a blinder to be fifth to Vent De Force after racing handily behind the progressive front-running winner, which is on duty again here.
It was only in the last 50 yards that Simenon wilted. If he has progressed as expected now, he is fancied to cause a minor upset at odds of up to 14/1.
Pleascach winning the Ribblesdale Stakes would be less of a surprise but that is also expected to materialise. Jim Bolger has chiselled another gem in this Teofilo mare, winning the Irish 1,000 Guineas with her courtesy of a tactical masterclass.
She now sports Godolphin blue under Kevin Manning on her first stab at a mile-and-a-half in this Group Two.
David Wachman's Curvy, which denied the Derby fourth Giovanni Canaletto when completing a hat-trick at the Curragh recently, is among those feared under the peerless Moore, but Pleascach is the one to beat.
Selections - 2.30 King Of Rocks 3.05 Bocca Baciata 3.40 Pleascach 4.20 Simenon 5.0 Portage 5.35 Dissolution