Sunday 22 April 2018

Mullins eyes glory in Oz for Simenon

Thomas Kelly

WILLIE MULLINS is plotting a trip Down Under with Simenon following his fine second to Estimate in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

A dual winner at last year's fixture, Simenon threw down a strong challenge to the winner passing the furlong marker, but Johnny Murtagh's mount came up short by a neck as Ryan Moore pulled out all the stops to secure victory on the Queen's horse.

Champion jumps trainer Mullins said: "He's run a career-best, which I said he might have to, and we're very pleased.

"We're a little bit disappointed as at the furlong marker I thought maybe (he could win), as Johnny is in such form.

"It's probably a fantastic result for racing, but I would have loved to have won and I'll probably never be in this position again.

"We want to take our horse to the Melbourne Cup and I'll start making plans when I get home. It's going to make November a little busy."

For all those who toasted the longevity of Queen Elizabeth II after Estimate's triumph, the success of Riposte in the Ribblesdale Stakes caused as many to lament afresh the premature loss of Henry Cecil.

Nine days after the great trainer's death, his widow chewed her lips and groped bravely for words to describe the fealty not only of his professional community, but also of thousands who had never even met the most prolific trainer in Royal Ascot history.

Had Riposte's fortunes happened to turn on some apparently random consideration – luck in running, say, or the nod in a photo finish – fate would surely have been shamed into some miniature gesture of remorse for the cruel abbreviation of his life.

As it was, Riposte seemed to ride a swelling tide of goodwill as she coasted through the race and hurtled clear, Tom Queally slapping her neck in delight.

"It has been a tough, tough week and I know a lot of people are struggling," the jockey said, as he pulled up. "I am sure Henry is looking down, helping us."

American raider No Nay Never smashed the five-furlong record for juveniles with a stunning performance in the Norfolk Stakes.

Irish Independent

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