Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 14 December 2017

Mullins chasing more glory after Simenon's Cork success

Trainer Willie Mullins. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Willie Mullins. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Classy Flat stayer Simenon clinched his second successive victory at Cork with a facile success in the Joe Walsh Memorial Hurdle and Willie Mullins could now turn his attentions to chasing.

A dual winner at Royal Ascot in 2012, the nine-year-old has since been placed in three consecutive renewals of the Gold Cup. After finishing fourth last summer, he endured a disappointing end to his season, and was well beaten on his return to Berkshire in this year's Queen Alexandra Stakes.

However, he appeared reinvigorated by going back to the jumping game at Cork on his latest outing and faced just three opponents on his return to the Mallow circuit.

The 2/5 favourite travelled powerfully throughout in the hands of Ruby Walsh and picked up well from the final flight to score by 10 lengths from High Nellie, with Bright New Dawn disappointing just five days after finishing eighth in the Galway Plate.

Mullins said: "He can win over two miles, two-and-a-half and three miles and is settling as he gets older and jumping. We had him entered in a novice chase in Galway and we could go down that direction - I'll have a look at the programme book.

"He's a lovely horse for an owner to have as he can run over hurdles, on the Flat or over fences and we'll be going chasing shortly.

"We might come back in trip for the first few races over fences - he's probably not good enough to win those long-distance Flat races but we'll have a look at it all first. He has schooled well over fences."

The champion trainer added: "It's a great honour to win this race in honour of Joe Walsh, who was minister in charge of setting up HRI and in racing we owe a fair bit to Joe and his commitment, and today hopefully will be a celebration of that."

There was only one other winning favourite on the seven-race card and that came in the At The Races App Handicap Hurdle as Davy Russell guided the well-supported 4/1 market leader Fiddlers Bow.

The Jimmy Mangan-trained gelding was fitted with a tongue strap for the first time and it worked the oracle.

Held up in typical patient fashion by Russell, the seven-year-old took closer order as the field approached the straight, and he was pushed into the lead jumping the third-last. Showing no shortage of stamina, Fiddlers Bow kept on well to beat Pleased As Punch by two-and-a-quarter lengths.

Russell was also fancied to land the opening maiden hurdle aboard Joseph O'Brien's Rosshaven Lady, but the even-money favourite had to settle for third spot behind 14/outsider Hello Sweetie. Trained and owned by Pat Collins, Keith Donoghue's mount hit the front early and kept on well to beat Khalessi by a length and a quarter.

The card's other maiden hurdle was also won by a mare as 3/1 second favourite Undefined Beauty scored for trainer Ted Stanners and rising star of the weigh-room Jack Kennedy. The grey daughter of Kayf Tara stayed on well to beat even-money shot Round Tower by a length.

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