The connections of Irish marathon stayer Simenon have joined the European chorus pleading for a truly run Melbourne Cup as nerves remain frayed over the race’s likely tempo.
Having watched several fancies given no hope in last year’s race because of a muddling speed, the northern hemisphere raiders are again wary of a sit-and-sprint two-mile essay.
Voleuse de Coeurs (barrier 21), one-time favourite Mount Athos (22), previous runner-up Red Cadeaux (23) and Ruscello (24) are all sweating on luck after drawing wide.
Red Cadeaux’s trainer, Ed Dunlop, lamented that the pace was likely to be dictated by Lloyd Williams’ six runners, with five drawing barrier 10 or inside. And Simenon’s groom, Emmet Mullins, the nephew of the horse’s trainer, Willie, also expressed fears about another Cup dawdle.
‘‘All we want is a truly run Melbourne Cup, in nice good ground and the best horse to win,’’ he said.
The seven-year-old Irish import has flourished since arriving in Australia, running a close-up third behind Sea Moon in the Herbert Power three weeks ago.
Despite being beaten in lowly hurdle races a year ago, Simenon is shaping up as the Cup bolter having won over 4000 metres and beyond. He also has two successes over the Melbourne Cup trip.
‘‘He ran in the Herbert Power and came out of it great and because he’s been holding his condition so well, we’ve been able to get all the work into him,’’ Mullins said. ‘‘He’s still nearly putting on weight at this stage which is a worry because he’s taking his work so well.
‘‘He’s just thriving at the moment. It’s a great relief to see how well he’s doing and I don’t even think he realises he’s left Ireland.
‘‘[The Cup] is what we look forward to and why we get up in the morning. There’s no point coming down here and moping around with no-one noticing you. It’s good to have a bit of pep in your step and excitement in the air.’’
Simenon is one of the few Europeans to have been afforded a lead-up run in Australia, a factor Mullins thinks will be critical tomorrow.
‘‘We knew all the European horses mostly use Geelong [Cup as a lead-up], but with our own regime and routines we normally don’t give them a run that close to the race,’’ he said.
‘‘The Herbert Power just fell nicely. It was the first day he was out of quarantine and it allowed us 3 weeks to the Cup and it just slotted in perfectly.
‘‘It’s his routine, it’s what he knows and he generally runs better off a break. I wouldn’t like to see him come back any quicker than three weeks, but at the same time he’s just doing so well, I just think he’ll run a massive race.’’