A blistering Albion Park debut has Victorian raider Simon Told Helen primed for Group 2 glory at the TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival tomorrow night.
During last week’s heats of the Queensland Derby, the David Burnett-trained dog ran a sizzling 29.83 en route to victory and has been drawn perfectly in box eight for the $60,000 Final.
Most notably, however, was Simon Told Helen’s middle split of 11.35 – 0.05 seconds inside Sennachie’s mark when setting a new track record at Albion Park in July – which has captured the punters’ attention.
Having won at Group 3 level during his last start, Simon Told Helen (73.7kph) also recorded the fastest first split on Melbourne Cup night to announce himself as one of the nation’s fastest greyhounds.
“I’m ready, he’s ready, so hopefully everything goes to plan,” Burnett said.
“As we know early pace wins races, so hopefully he gets out of the box and he’s hard to catch.”
The Queensland Derby is one of two black-type races to be staged at Albion Park tomorrow night with the $60,000 Bogie Leigh Futurity Final also on the program.
Having relocated from its traditional Autumn timeslot to Summer, this year’s edition looks an even affair with Sequana (29.66) the fastest of the heat winners.
Among the other contenders is Elegant Eleanor, who will provide Torbanlea trainer Ricky Hassall with his first starter in a Group 2 Final.
“I’ve never been in a Group heat until last week so this is all new to me,” Hassall said.
“The closest I’ve come previously was to win two Bundaberg Cup Consolation Finals – 1997 with Worthy Lover and 2005 with Red Bow Tie – but they weren’t at Group level.
“So this is by far the biggest race I’ve ever been involved in.”
Staged at Albion Park throughout December and January, the Golden Greys Summer Carnival boasts six black-type events across eight weeks with $1 million in feature prize money and Group racing for sprinters, middle distance types, stayers, and age-restricted greyhounds.
As part of the innovation, the Golden Ticket (December 26) is expected to prove an ideal lead-in to the Group 1 Gold Bullion (January 10) with the concept similar to the inter-state Shootout and Speed Star promotions.
The heats of the Golden Ticket will be conducted as four-dog shootouts, with the Final conducted as two-dog match races.
The winner of the Golden Ticket then receives automatic entry into the Gold Bullion Final and a shot at the $150,000 winners’ cheque.
Click here for more information on the TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival.