By Isaac Murphy
Simon Told Helen was the talk of the town after last weeks blistering Derby heat win (29.83) and the Victorian chaser has been duly installed as an odds on favourite for this weeks final, but there’s not often a Group Final in Brisbane without Tommy 'The Prince' Tzouvelis involved with Cooper Dooper starting at $15 despite going one hundredth quicker (29.82) than the favourite last week.
The dogs go about their racing in different manners Burnett’s dog breaking the record to the second mark in his heat, while Tzouvelis’ chaser ran home over the top of the impressive Certification and Queensland’s finest thinks he has more in the tank.
“To be honest I think he can go quicker (29.82), he still hasn’t quite put everything together each race is a learning process and hopefully with another couple of months of racing we can get his time down a little more,” Tzouvelis said.
“Ideally we would have drawn the red again and there’s no doubt Simon Told Helen is the dog to beat he was super impressive last week running the second section record at his first look at the track and we’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Despite his deserved favouritism Tzouvelis thinks other early speed dogs will be the key to making the favourite work hard early to get across from the eight.
“The best scenario for Cooper would be for Farmor Fearsome in the three and Certifcation in the four to get out early and really make Simon Told Helen work hard to get around them and to the front from out wide,” he said.
“Even if he still gets around them having to use that little bit of extra gas could see him stopping late and if those three dogs lead and we get the park on them we’re definitely the strongest home.”
“Certification carved across him at the first corner last week and cost him a length of two and we were still able to gap him with a run home of 12.58, in comparison to Simon Told Helen at 13.03 half a second difference could be significant.”
Cooper Dooper looks to have a promising career in front of him wins at Ipswich, Albion Park and Capalaba in the last month signalling a coming of age for the two-year-old.
“He’s doing everything I ask of him, he was extremely unlucky in the Ipswich Cup Heats coming in off a 30.31 win at the track I gave him a big hope, everything was looking good at the first turn when he loomed up to Wise Misty before he got turned sideways and was out of commission.”
“Seeing him back that up and make his first Group Final is really pleasing and as I said I think his best is six months away.”
The sprinter is out of Cosmic Rumble and Tzouvelis’ own Miss Lauryn who continues to produce winners for the kennel.
“Miss Lauryn has been a fantastic brood bitch for us producing Brandi Alexander’s litter, Cooper’s litter and we’ve got another one of the way with Fernando Bale, most of which have already been earmarked by some of my original owners,” Tzouvelis said.
“We’ve had really good luck with Miss Lauryn pups I couldn’t tell you how many races they’ve won all up but it’d be a lot.”
“We weren’t sure after Maurice Minor and Del Rey retired if we’d have dogs capable of Group racing, but Brandi came along in the interim and now we’ve got young ones like Cooper putting their names forward.”
National staying representative Miss Gingin will look to return to form in the middle-distance challenge for Tzouvelis who is hoping the bitch can get her mojo back after a string of placings.
“Fitness wise she’s back to one hundred percent she just needs to get a bit of swagger back after losing some confidence with the trip over to Perth and subsequent races back home,” he said.
“If we can find her a couple of easier races and string a couple of wins together, I think it’ll do her the world of good.”
“Obviously that easy race doesn’t come this week in the Middle-Distance challenge, but it’s the first time she’s drawn the red over the 600 and it should suit her down to the ground.”
The bitch is the best credentialed stayer in the field outside Bago Bye Bye and Tzouvelis said she has the motor to go with him if she’s close enough.
“I’d love to see her jump and lead but she’ll probably be outpaced early by the likes of Infrared Lad and Kendall drawn the two outside us, but if we can camp on the rail and not let Bago Bye Bye get the fly she’s the one bitch that could tack on to his sustained run,” he said.
“Similarly to the Derby Bago Bye Bye is a deserved favourite, I know he was blowing a bit last week after all his travel and if we can stay within a length of two of him it’ll be a good finish.”