Monday 20 January 2020

Willie Mullins has fences in mind as high-class stayer Simenon makes hay at Cork

Simenon clinched his second successive win at Cork with a wide-margin victory in the Joe Walsh Memorial Hurdle and could soon be set for a chasing career.

A dual winner at Royal Ascot in 2012, the Willie Mullins-trained 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 without being extended.

High Nellie was second, 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."

He 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."

Mullins was crowned champion trainer at the week-long Galway Festival, ending the long reign of Dermot Weld, and is hoping to repeat the feat in 12 months' time.

He said: "Galway was fantastic - we had 17 runners and nine of them winners and couldn't have asked for any more.

"We'll do our best again next year!"

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