By Isaac Murphy
Simon Told Helen looks a dangerous prospect for his rivals in the Queensland Derby Heats. The Dave Burnett Victorian ran second to Melbourne Cup winner Whisky Riot two starts ago and last start went quicker than the Cup field on the night winning the Group Three Cup Night Sprint by over six lengths.
The two-year-old put up nearly fifteen lengths on his rivals at one point in the Cup Night Sprint. His second Group Three in eleven starts to go with The Great Chase Crown at the Meadows. The next stop is the Derby where he jumps from box six in heat one, a race Burnett always had on the calendar.
“The original plan was to skip the Melbourne Cup and the preludes because he’d only had about six race starts. We were going to go through the Great Chase and then onto Brisbane,” Burnett said
“Such was his form we ended up taking him through the Melbourne carnival much to our benefit as he secured his second Group Three in the Cup Night Sprint and, fortunately the timing has lined up perfectly to get him to the Derby Heats in Brisbane still.”
“We had to option of going to the Ballarat Cup which carries the same prize money, but that event is open aged, but while he has time on his side, we thought it’d be a much better option to bring him to Queensland and race against dogs his same age.”
For those who haven’t seen the dog race, his acceleration is something to behold often putting up insurmountable margins down the back despite a lack of box speed.
“It’s happened on a couple of occasions where the lure is so far out in front of the second dog, they stop chasing he’s opened up that big a gap,” Burnett said
“It can be a double-edged sword if he burns too much gas early and gets run down late, but I’m confident at his best he walks away with a Group Two.”
“His acceleration is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, but that’s the one problem with him if he gets a bit of bad luck at the start, he could be out of it early,” Burnett said
Burnett said the dog will have to be on his best manners on Thursday out of a potential sticky draw and some class local runners around him.
“Final Plea in the seven has a propensity to crash which could cause us some problems early and Master Douglas (1), Cha Cha Charlie (2) and Farmor Fearsome (4) are all well performed dogs at the track where this is our first look,” Burnett said.
“I’d love to see him punch through and accelerate to the lead down the back but I’m fairly confident even if he doesn’t get it quite right, we can grab a top four spot and he’ll be better for the run come next week’s final.”
Burnett said most trainers wouldn’t see a dog like Simon Told Helen in their time, but scarily enough there’s a kennel mate who he rates above the speedster.
“When you’ve got a dog like him it makes it easy to get up in the morning get him through his work and the buzz when he really explodes is pretty special,” he said.
“The most exciting thing is I’ve got another Barcia Bale/Who Told Lindylu waiting in the wings in Who Told Stevie. He’s currently out with injury but is two or three lengths quicker than this dog.”
“He’ll hopefully be back in January for the Gold Bullion and surrounding races. He’s not quite as quick as Simon Told Helen but he’s not far off and is far stronger home.”
If Simon Told Helen lives up to his billing in the Derby there could be two Dave Burnett runners come January, but the trainer has a litany of options at his feet.
“I haven’t ruled out staying on with Simon Told Helen after the Derby, but as I said earlier, he’s only young and we’re more than happy to come back in a year’s time if he’s not quite up to it,” he said.
“It’s not every day you’ve got clubs ringing you up saying we’d love to have you bring him along, but it’s important to make the right choices as well.”
“He’s had eleven starts now and some of the things he’s doing are out of this world, it makes you think where he’ll be in six months’ time.”