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Simon Told Helen bang on for Brisbane Cup

By Isaac Murphy

Race-7-Simon-Told-Helen-359.JPGThe best dogs should be racing in the biggest races and that’s just what’s going to happen with the freakish talent that is Simon Told Helen making a tilt at the Group 1 Brisbane Cup.

Trainer Dave Burnett confirmed the dual Group 1 winner was a confirmed starter for this Thursday’s heats, flying in the morning of the race.

Burnett had tossed up the idea of skipping the event, having to go the great measures to get the dog up here in the current environment, but after a personal best in front of litter brother Who Told Stevie at Sandown Park last Thursday, he punched his ticket.

“He’d run 29.10 at Sandown and just about dragged me when we were headed out to the car, if I didn’t already know he was telling me he was ready for the Brisbane Cup,” Burnett said.

“We’ve got flights booked for Simon Told Helen at the moment, we just have to get arrangements sorted and book a flight for his brother Who Told Stevie.”

A top Free For All dog in his own right, Who Told Stevie was excellent behind his brother on Thursday night and has his own claims of a cup campaign.

“I wasn’t sold on bringing the second dog, he needed that run to see what he’s capable of doing and to run 29.29 first up at Sandown after four months off you can’t ask for much better and he’s pulled up a treat,” Burnett said.

“We thought there’s more chance of him going up to Brisbane and hopefully running second to his brother in a Group 1 than going to a Bendigo Cup.”

The accolades Simon Told Helen receives for his on-track performances are heralded, but the dog’s ability to perform on cue are just as impressive.

“The times he comes out and runs at foreign tracks are just remarkable; we flew him to Perth on the Tuesday before the Saturday, got him off the plane, trialled him that night and he went half a length off the track record post-to-post,” Burnett said.

“Similarly, when we came up to Brisbane last year where he won the Queensland Derby, we landed at 11am before the heats that night, he came out and went bang and won.

“Knowing he’s done it before that’s what we’re going to do again this year, a fly-in fly-out job.

“They both should arrive Thursday, and I expect them to race well that night.”

Simon Told Helen
Who Told Stevie

Burnett has left no stone unturned in preparation for the heats, planning to get the dogs in and out the day of the race.

“I’ve had a staff member of mine, Martina Kirillidis, up in Brisbane for eleven days in quarantine to make this all possible, she comes out on Tuesday and will pick the pair of them up on Thursday and fly them home that night and hopefully have to do it again for the final,” Burnett said.

“I would have loved to have been up there myself for a possible Group 1, but with the recent spike in COVID-19 down here it just wasn’t possible.

“You resign yourself to the fact you might miss out of handling and being there for a Group 1, but the dog is there that’s the main thing.

“We’ve already got plans if we make the final to have a Group 1 gathering on the night, we have to get through the heats first.”

If rivals weren’t already weary of the dog, Burnett believes he’s a markedly better animal than the one we saw decimate the clock in Brisbane last year.

“He’s become the complete greyhound, most of last year he was winning his races in the first and second sections and hanging on to the line and he was talented enough to do that,” Burnett said.

“There’s no weakness there anymore, I think he ran home in 12.83 winning the Queensland Derby last year and I’d be confident he’s taken a couple of lengths off that and he ran 29.65 that night.

“It’s a big statement but if he comes out and gets it right, Sennachie’s 29.39 record should be in his sights.”

Albion Park

THIRTY TALKS @ STUD Queensland Derby (G2) F 520m

A trainer for the last 24 years, Burnett is aware he’s hit the jackpot with Simon Told Helen, who makes some of his past champions look average.

“I keep telling people I’m sitting somewhere above cloud nine at the moment, it’s just unbelievable,” he said.

“I’ve been in dogs since 1996 waiting for a dog to come along like this, you think you’ve had good dogs in the past and then to have a freak like this is amazing.

“Now he does have such a status in the sport there is pressure that comes with it.

All eyes are on us; if he wins people love him and if he loses they ask what’s wrong, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Simon Told Helen is on track to be one of the all-time greats and Burnett is set on doing everything possible to pad his resume.

“It’s about legacy with him now, he’s got three Group 1s, a Group 2 and two Group 3s across the country from nineteen starts,” he said.

“We didn’t stick on for the Brisbane Cup last year, the plan was the Queensland Derby and we won it, and the plan this year is the Brisbane Cup and we hope to win that too, but don’t forget about (Who Told) Stevie.”