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Willie Mullins' Simenon in good form ahead of Japan Cup

Updated: Friday, 22 Nov 2013 17:10 | Comments

Connection of Simenon will be hoping for a strong early pace to bring their stayer's stamina in to play
Connection of Simenon will be hoping for a strong early pace to bring their stayer's stamina in to play

Connections of Simenon will be satisfied if their charge can claim a share of the €3.5million prize pot on offer in Sunday's Japan Cup at Tokyo racecourse.

The six-year-old was last seen finishing a creditable fourth in the Melbourne Cup earlier this month, beaten just two and a half lengths by Fiorente over two miles.

He will be dropping back to a mile and a half this time, the same distance at which he finished third in a Caulfield Group Two on his Australian bow.

Trainer Willie Mullins has had his nephew, Emmet, supervising Simenon's preparations and the team are delighted with how the gelding has taken his travels.

"Emmet is over there with him and he's been delighted with the way he settled in and apparently his coat looks great," said the trainer's son, Patrick.

"He did a bit of work during the week that was as good as anything he did in Australia, so everyone is happy with him.

"When we went there we didn't envisage taking on Gentildonna (last year's winner). If we can get a share of the good prize-money we'll be delighted."

Joshua Tree will be lining up in the Grade One event for the second time having finished 10th when trained by Aidan O'Brien in 2010.

The six-year-old is now in the care of Ed Dunlop and was last seen winning the Canadian International at Woodbine for the second time last month.

Dunlop told www.japanracing.jp: "He looks to be moving well, his weight's good and he looks well for the time of year.

"We're all happy, but not happy with the draw (17). An outside draw will change plans, but I hope there is good pace - we'll leave it to the jockey (Johnny Murtagh) because he's world class.

"I would ignore Joshua Tree's previous run here in the last Japan Cup because it was at the end of a pretty hard season.

"But he could run very well here because his season was always geared toward the second part of the year, and knowing that it will be tough, we will try very hard."

French raider Dunaden is another to roll on to Japan after running in Melbourne, where he finished 11th, beaten just under nine lengths.

Trainer Mikel Delzangles said: "It was a long travel from Melbourne through Hong Kong - it was quite longer than we thought - but he's used to travelling and he recovered very quickly.

"He's fresh and fit enough so he won't do much more than what he did this morning till the race.

"I hope the track won't be too firm. I don't want him to hurt himself, that's my only concern.

"The draw (10), I think, is very good - he will sit in mid-field."

Gold Ship and Gentildonna head the home team, with the latter out to repeat last year's victory, but the four-year-old has yet to get her head in front in three starts this year.

She will have a new jockey this time, though, as Ryan Moore takes the ride in place of Yasunari Iwata, who has ridden the filly in her six most recent outings.

Trainer Sei Ishizaka said: "Her run in the Tenno Sho was just not her. I just can't be happy with that race.

"Her past three races have all been runs coming back after lay-offs, but this time there shouldn't be anything working against her. I have no worries about her condition.

"I don't know if she's the same condition as she was but she is definitely not any worse."

Gold Ship scored at Grade One level earlier in the year, although he suffered a shock defeat last time out.

Trainer Naosuke Sugai said: "It's a Grade One so the field is a strong one and this is his first time competing against horses from overseas but he is definitely on the up and up.

"If he can make a clear switch of gears during the race I think we'll see the strong Gold Ship. I want him to rally."

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