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Simon the Gr8

It’s quite simple… Triple Group 1 winner Simon Told Helen has reclaimed Australia’s No. 1 sprinter title.

The catch-me-if-you-can speedster, with devastating mid-race acceleration, is an excitement machine! He’s a drawcard the sport needs in these troubled times.

There was ‘great expectation’ around the Gr8 Eight Special Event (515m) tonight at Sandown – and it delivered in spades.

Trained by David Burnett, Simon Told Helen ($1.30F) defeated arch-rival Tiggerlong Tonk ($4.30) fair and square – albeit the margin was a whisker – in a classic contest.

G2 Horsham Cup winner Tiggerlong Tonk (Box 5) – who finished third to Simon Told Helen in last week’s G1 Harrison-Dawson at Sandown – jumped better than Simon Told Helen (Box 1).

However, champions have that ability to find something extra and Simon Told Helen railed through to take the lead rounding the first turn.

He then sped away with a handy break down the back straight, but it wasn’t all done and dusted as Tiggerlong Tonk is noted for his powerful finishing burst.

But in a thrilling drive to the line, with a result that had many guessing, Simon Told Helen prevailed by 0.16L with bolter Mepunga Pegasus ($43.70) chiming in a further 0.28L away third in 29.37sec.

To the victor go the spoils, but give credit where credit is due to a gallant Tiggerlong Tonk and Mepunga Pegasus, who proved a real surprise packet and almost caused a dramatic boilover. Mind you, he was runner-up to Tiggerlong Tonk in the Horsham Cup and contested the Harrison-Dawson.

Owned by the Emma’s Boys Syndicate, Simon Told Helen (Jan ’18 Barcia Bale x Who Told Lindylu) notched his 15th win from 24 starts. It was also his fifth win from eight starts over 515m at Sandown, and the $10,500 first prize lifted his stakes over the $500,000 mark.

A brand-new initiative, the Gr8 Eight series has been popular from the get-go.

The first two winners of the 12 x $15,000 Special Events were stars Mister Harlewood and Rockstar Beav.

These Gr8 Eight special events are aimed at providing opportunities for Victoria’s top-class greyhounds to race for above-average prizemoney in a climate where there are travelling restrictions and changes to Australia’s group racing calendar due to COVID-19.

Further races on the Gr8 Eight calendar are:

Saturday, May 30 – The Meadows (600m)
Thursday, June 4 – Sandown Park (595m)
Saturday, June 6 – The Meadows (525m)
Thursday, June 11 – Sandown Park (715m)
Saturday, June 13 – The Meadows (600m)

Thursday, June 18 – Sandown Park (515m)
Saturday, June 20 – The Meadows (725m)
Thursday, June 25 – Sandown Park (595m)
Saturday, June 27 – The Meadows (525m)

Photos by Clint Anderson

Peter Quilty
About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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