Having his first run over hurdles in almost two years, Simenon will be the star attraction in the Family Day Out August 1st Hurdle in Cork tonight.
The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old hasn’t competed over timber since winning the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle in Tipperary in July 2014.
A three-time winner over obstacles, he’s proven as a classy stayer on the flat, boasting a notable double at Royal Ascot in 2012 (Ascot Stakes and Queen Alexandra) in addition to finishing fourth in the 2014 Melbourne Cup and performing creditably in a number of top staying events closer to home.
Off the track since October, Simenon returned to action in the recent Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot and, having made the running dropped away to finish fifteenth behind Gordon Elliott’s Commissioned.
That run should have left the nine-year-old spot-on for this task and he should continue Ruby Walsh’s unbeaten record, in Ireland, since the Punchestown Festival – he has won on his only two rides, Muthaza (Tramore) and Bamako Moriviere (Bellewstown).
Earlier, on a day when Robbie McNamara has his first runners as a trainer, the Tom Mullins-trained Indian Court, whose last run was a fourth to Below Mome at Punchestown back in February, appeals in the Follow Us On Twitter Maiden Hurdle.
In Navan, Roibeard, which turned over odds-on stable-companion Spader in a three-horse race in Fairyhouse last week, giving apprentice Evan Egan his first success, should land the opening claimer for Ger Lyons and the Galway-born apprentice.
Lyons also has prospects with Elusive Heights in the concluding mile handicap following his unlucky experience, when brought down inside the final furlong in the handicap won by Breathe Easy at the Curragh.
Colin Keane’s mount would have been placed on that occasion and, open to further improvement, should prove tough to beat.
Intense Stylist, unlucky in running when a close third to Ibergman over seven furlongs in Roscommon on Monday, might gain compensation, dropping back in trip, in the Emerald Facility Services Cleaning Handicap.
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