sport

Simenon back in jumping groove

Simenon recorded his first victory over timber since May 2012 with success in the Kevin McManus Bookmakers Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary.

One of the most admirable dual-purpose horses in training and twice a Royal Ascot winner, he has been campaigned exclusively on the Flat in recent times, finishing second in last season's Gold Cup at the Royal meeting and fourth in the Melbourne Cup.

He has also run in Japan, Hong Kong and Dubai, and signalled a return to form when fifth to Leading Light in this year's Gold Cup.

Settled in mid-division through the early stages of his jumping return by Paul Townend as Little King Robin cut out the pace, the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old was still full of running three out and soon joined issue with Darwins Fox from the second-last.

The pair took the final flight almost as one, but Simenon proved the stronger on the run to the line, winning by a length and a quarter as the 10/11 favourite.

Townend said: "His jumping over the first couple was deadly and when I needed at the last he produced.

"It was a true gallop from start to finish, he has loads of class and it's nice to win that.

"I knew the other horse stayed very well but it's nice to get him back to winning ways - he's a real flag-bearer for the yard."

Mullins said: "It can be very tough in those Flat races so it's good to get his head in front again.

"He's in everything from the Irish St Leger to the American St Leger and it also opens up jumps races in America for him.

"He'll be entered for the Galway Hurdle, but I'm not sure if he'd run carrying top weight in it.

"The Nakayama jumps race has a huge prize (Mullins won it last year with Blackstairmountain) and that's another option. He'll go somewhere where it's good ground like today. He's not a winter campaigner. He just has lots of options now."

He added: "It looked like he was coming back to form the way he ran at Ascot and he's coming on again now.

"If he ran in a Flat race and ran well he might get a few nice invites like he did last year.

"He showed us he's coming back, today is another example and i think he'll continue on now."

The co-feature on the card was the Listed Excelebration Tipperary Stakes, won by the Tommy Stack-trained Accepted, who was making it two wins from as many starts after his debut success at the Curragh.