Simenon ‘committed’ to Cup bid

Connections of Simenon are “committed” in their pursuit of the Emirates Melbourne Cup – even though the talented stayer is not yet guaranteed a place in the final line-up.

Simenon ‘committed’ to Cup bid

The six-year-old gelding, runner-up in both the Ascot Gold Cup and the Lonsdale Cup at York this season, has been allotted 8st 6lb for the world’s richest handicap at Flemington on November 5.

Trainer Willie Mullins accepts Simonen’s participation could be a closely-run thing.

He told the Telegraph: “We are committed to go, even though we are not guaranteed to get a run.

“We know it’s probably a 50-50 chance, but the owners are keen, and the horse has been in quarantine in Newmarket.

“He’s settled in great and he’s been eating and drinking OK.”

Simonen is likely to have a run before the Melbourne Cup. A victory could see him incur a penalty which may help him make the cut.

Mullins said: “We are looking at several options, but I would prefer it if the race was not too close to the Cup.”

* Meanwhile powerful jumps owner Rich Ricci has pledged to support Irish racing “for as long as I can”.

American-born Ricci and his wife, Susannah, have struck up a formidable partnership with champion trainer Willie Mullins, with whom they have enjoyed countless big-race victories.

Champagne Fever last season won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, while the unbeaten Annie Power looks a mare of limitless potential.

Yet despite being based in England, the former head of Barclays’ investment banking arm says his racing allegiances will remain across the Irish Sea.

Ricci said: “I love it here (in Ireland), I wouldn’t race anywhere else.

“We race in England, selectively, but here it’s good.

“I told Willie Mullins, I guess in 2005 when I bought a horse with him, that I’d buy more horses if there was a chance to be successful, and we’ve had great success.

“We had nine Grade One winners globally last season – seven in Ireland, one in the UK and one in Japan. It’s extraordinary.”

* Pique Sous is “improving all the time” after suffering a bout of colic, but is far from being in the clear just yet.

Willie Mullins’ talented dual-purpose performer, a Grade Two winner over hurdles at Fairyhouse and winner of a premier handicap at Leopardstown on the Flat earlier this month, was struck down by the illness earlier in the week.

Steve Massey, who helps run the Supreme Racing Club syndicate which owns Pique Sous, said: “He’s not out of the woods yet but his condition is improving all the time.

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