Simenon – Ascot Gold Cup
The fast ground expected for tomorrow’s Ascot Gold Cup could see more withdrawals from the two and a half mile stamina test with trainer Dermot Weld electing to walk the course on Thursday morning before making a decision as to whether he is prepared to risk 5-2 favourite Forgotten Rules, a situation which could also see the proven soft ground performer Tac De Boistron bypass the £375k contest as the grey son of Take Risks has yet to win in anything other than soft or heavy conditions.
In the event of Forgotten Rules giving the race a miss the Luca Cumani-trained Mizzou would go off a clear market leader but the mount of William Buick is untried over this kind of trip and at the 12-1 on offer at Sky Bet, last year’s fourth (promoted to that position following the disqualification of runner up Estimate) Simenon makes plenty of appeal for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey James Doyle.
The Marju gelding won twice at the 2012 Royal meeting, first with a comprehensive six length victory under top weight in the Ascot Stakes, followed on the final day of the Royal fixture by an even more impressive victory in the two mile five and a half furlong Queen Alexandra Stakes. 12 Months later Simenon raised the bar by competing against some of the best stayers around in the Gold Cup and found only the Queen’s Estimate (in receipt of 5lb) a neck too good.
The eight-year-old has run with credit on a number of occasions since then including when finishing a close fourth in the 2013 Melbourne Cup and after watching last year’s Gold Cup several times consider the horse unlucky not to have been concerned in the finish. Turning for home Simenon was going as well as anything under Frankie Dettori but had to challenge widest of all and despite staying on strongly could never get in a blow at the principles when the pace quickened.
Providing James Doyle can keep a more prominent position when the race begins in earnest nothing will be staying on stronger than Willie Mullins’ charge and the trainer can show that it is not just the Cheltenham Festival where he is capable of mixing it with the best around.
1 Point each-way Simenon 12-1 Sky Bet