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Relief as Simenon gets in!

WHILE those in Ireland slept over night, the Simenon camp were hearing the news that they had nervously awaited as the horse is now assured of a place in Tuesday's Emirates Melbourne Cup regardless of what happens on Victoria Derby Day on Saturday.

Simenon had been toying with a guaranteed spot in the Melbourne Cup as he was placed number 23 of 24 in the order of entry, but with the Lexus Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes winners both earning exemptions from ballot if they hold a Melbourne Cup entry, it had been feared that Simenon could be demoted to 25 on the list and therefore miss out on the race.

Willie Mullins was due into Melbourne yesterday evening local time and he is expected to run his eye over Simenon's final serious piece of work at Werribee Racecourse tomorrow morning, which in Irish time will be late tonight.

It had looked as though Simenon's participation would go right down to the wire and that it would not be until 6.30pm local time when the draw for the stalls takes place that we would find out if he was going to get in or not.

The early news will have been welcomed by jockey Richard Hughes who is currently in Santa Anita for the Breeders Cup meeting and he now knows his definite plans for the coming days. Speaking in Melbourne yesterday, following the news that Silent Achiever was a non-runner, a relieved Emmet Mullins told the Herald: "It would have been a big blow to take if we had ended up at number 25 but it was always out of our hands and there was nothing we could do. It's a pity for the connections of the other horse but it is certainly a huge relief for us."

In front of his on-watching owner Nick Peacock, Simenon did a real good looking piece of work on his own at Werribee yesterday morning and satellite trainer Emmet Mullins continues to be very pleased with the six-year-old.

Mullins said: "The horse has settled in really well and surprised us at how well he is doing. I still don't think he knows he's out here. He's flying."



A nephew of Willie, Emmet is no stranger to being handed such responsibility as was also in charge of Blackstairmountain during his raid to Japan earlier in the year.

Reflecting on yesterday morning's gallop he said: "I was delighted with the work and that was probably one of his hardest bits since he came. He did a nice little stretch in Flemington and he's pulled up sound."

Simenon had a prep run after touching down in Australia five-weeks ago when finishing a close third behind Sea Moon at Caulfield and given that the race was only over 1m4f, connections were delighted with the effort.

"We're delighted with him. It was just a matter of keeping our own routine with him at home so that is why he went for the Herbert Power so he'd have a good break between runs and he's progressed well and we are happy with him.

Mullins and fellow groom Jack Madden brought Simenon to Flemington for his routine gallop on Tuesday morning and the experience of seeing certain aspects of the track will stand to him it is hoped.

"He went to Flemington the other morning and everything went as smooth as possible so it was nice to get that out of the way," Mullins added.

"It was nice for him to have a look around and it will be some sort of a help now that he's been there come raceday. They say the tunnel leading out to the track can be daunting come raceday with 100,000 people shouting so at least he's been through the tunnel once and had a bit of a dry run."

Indeed, Mullins is looking forward to another leg to the Simenon journey as the horse may be set for another international target after Tuesday's race.

"He will more than likely go somewhere on the way home, be it Japan or Hong Kong," he revealed.

Mullins is joined Down Under by Jack Madden who is well known in racing circles as the man who looks after Willie Mullins' Gold Cup candidate Sir Des Champs and the Kildare native admitted that the seven-year-old is likely to start off at Punchestown next month.

"They put on a good show and look after us well here and make everything as easy as possible," Madden said of the Victoria Racing Club.

"I miss Sir Des Champs but that's the only thing I miss about home. He'll probably run at Punchestown in the John Durkan without me."

Madden is also well travelled and is vital cog in the Mullins team.

Of Simenon he said: "He's a great horse. You can do anything with him and he has settled in really well here. Now that we know he gets a run hopefully he will run a big race." Simenon is currently a 12/1 shot with Boylesports for the Emirates Melbourne Cup.