/ Racing

Richard Hughes will ride Simenon if he makes Melbourne Cup field; Brown Panther head lad sent home

Updated: Monday, 28 Oct 2013 15:16 | Comments

Simenon is currently 23rd in the order of entry
Simenon is currently 23rd in the order of entry

Willie Mullins has confirmed Richard Hughes will take the ride on Simenon if he makes the final field for the Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday week.

Runner-up in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Lonsdale Cup at York this summer, the six-year-old made an impressive start to his stint in Australia when a close third in the Herbert Power Stakes in the hands of Kerrin McEvoy.

Simenon is currently 23rd in the order of entry, with a maximum field of 24 guaranteed, but could yet miss out.

With the winners of Saturday's Mackinnon Stakes and Lexus Stakes both guaranteed a start in the 'race that stops a nation', the Irish stayer could be leapfrogged if the winners of both races are Cup nominees currently outside the field limit of 24.

Mullins said: "Richard Hughes rides. The horse is in very good form. Everything is going according to plan with him.

"Emmet (Mullins) is very happy with him. He's eating and drinking and he's relaxed in his quarantine.

"He seems like a professional traveller, as he's shown when he's been over to Ascot."

Asked whether Hughes would sit on Simenon prior to the big day, the trainer said: "I don't know yet. He might get a sit on him on the morning race."

Meanwhile, trainer Tom Dascombe's head lad Andy Jackson, who had been looking after Michael Owen's Melbourne Cup hope Brown Panther, has been sent back to England following a breach of security.

Jackson was told to leave after failing to adhere to the strict quarantine regulations on Saturday at the Werribee centre, which houses international horses ahead of the Flemington feature tomorrow week.

Racing Victoria International recruitment officer Leigh Jordon consulted with government officials and Dascombe before it was determined the stablehand should be told to leave.

Jordon would not name Jackson, but Dascombe's assistant Colin Gorman confirmed it was the head lad at the centre of the storm.

"As you can understand security around the centre is tight but for some reason the groom jumped some fences to get in and out," said Jordon.

"It was a totally inappropriate thing to do but it is a testimony to our set up that we managed to catch him and get him showered.

"Security around the centre is tight but for some reason the groom jumped some fences to get in and out" - Leigh Jordon

"It's a secure area and not everyone has to shower each time they go in, I go down every morning for instance, but there are designated areas for entry and exit and people must enter and exit in a certain way and that obviously hasn't been followed in this case.

"We discussed it with the government and the only solution was that he should not be allowed back into quarantine, that was the logical conclusion.

"It seems a very strange thing to do and it is a pretty severe breach. Our systems are verified by the government, though, and they are very happy with them.

"In the past we have had the odd case of a breach but nothing on this scale.

"It's very unfortunate but I must stress the horse has not missed a beat and is still on song. I hope we can all move on now.

"I must say that Tom has been fantastic through all this, he's been very professional, but I can understand how tough it must be and it is a senior member of his staff.

"I understand Tom is on his way out here very shortly."

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