SIMENON, the Irish-trained runner in today's Emirates Melbourne Cup, finished fourth for trainer Willie Mullins as Australian racing legend Gai Waterhourse made history by securing her first Melbourne Cup with Fiorente.
Sent off at 19/1, Simenon ran a big race to finish fourth as European-trained horses filled the second, third, fourth and fifth placed spots, with Red Cadeaux finishing second and Mount Athos third, while Dandino was back in fifth.
Afterwards, Willie Mullins told the Herald: "We are very pleased. He ran a great race. It looked at one stage he had a real big chance turning for home and we played all our cards but just better horses beat us on the day."
The race had been widely regarded as one of the most open renewals of the Melbourne Cup in well over 50 years, if not ever, and despite finishing out the two-mile race well under Kildare native Richard Hughes, connections of Simenon had to settle for minor honours.
"I don't think we have any excuses," Mullins continued. "He got a great break and everything went right I think. He's a real game, honest racehorse and gave his run. Richard gave him a super ride and overall we are happy."
Hughes himself was pleased with the run and, reflecting on the race, he said: "He ran a blinder, I am very pleased.
"He came real good, myself the winner and the second came around together and they just might have quickened a length on me and in hindsight I might have went before them but that would have been an awful long way from home," Hughes said.
"I got a great trip around, I followed Red Cadeaux and the winner was on my inside. It was a good thrill and just nice he ran so well – he ran a blinder – and Willie had him 110 per cent."
Looking to the future, Ireland's champion jumps trainer said that Simenon may have more international engagements in the immediate future.
"We are looking at Japan and we are also looking at Hong Kong. We will see how he comes out of this race but the Japan Cup and Hong Kong Vase are two races we could look at."
When asked if he would return for another tilt at the Melbourne Cup with Simenon he quipped: "Hopefully, we will have another one to come with him!"
He concluded: "We would have no problem coming back. We got some nice prize (money) for finishing fourth and we have the option of going to Japan or Hong Kong. If someone told you beforehand that you would finish fourth with all that went on – we had to wait to qualify then wait for draw and after the whole thing finishing fourth is great and we are delighted."
Simenon took home AUS$250,000 for finishing fourth in the "race that stops a nation" and speaking to the Herald his owner Nick Peacock said afterwards: "There's always a bit of you that thinks you could have done better but being realistic it's a wonderful result."
The owner who runs his horses with Mullins under the Wicklow Bloodstock banner continued: "Everyone has done a wonderful job and we are all having a great day so you can't ask for much more.
"It's early days to say whether Simenon will be back next year but it has to be a distinct possibility.
"If it's not Simenon and you have something that is good enough this is sort of the pinnacle so you've got to have a shot at it."