A sensational trial has convinced trainer David Burnett three-time Group 1 winner Simon Told Helen is primed to return to his brilliant best in the heats of the KCR Pet Transport Maturity (525m) at The Meadows.
Simon Told Helen blotted his near-faultless copybook at his last start, when sixth in the Group 1 Brisbane Cup earlier this month, his first unplaced effort since the Group 1 Temlee at The Meadows back in February.
“I needed to take him to The Meadows just to convince myself the dog was right,” David Burnett explained.
“It was unusual for him to do what he did in Brisbane. You wonder is he injured but everything’s sweet and his trial showed me he’s right back to his best.”
Simon Told Helen clocked an unheard of 24.50s in his post-to-post trial, while litter brother Who Told Stevie, which ran third in the Brisbane Cup, posted 24.74s, with both running home in 11.91s, which may have surprised some observers – Burnett included.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” he said.
“He just keeps finding lengths and surprising me. Some people say he’s not strong…”
Simon Told Helen claimed his first Group 1 trophy at The Meadows in January when taking out the Silver Chief as a ‘bottom ager’ and he’s $3.50 ‘all in’ favourite with TAB to add a second age-restricted feature in the Maturity.
The son of champion sire Barcia Bale, who won the Maturity in 2012, has won five from seven at The Meadows, also snaring the Group 3 Great Chase, and he’s a prohibitive $1.35 to take out heat five on Saturday.
And any rivals hoping box four might bring the superstar undone can think again, as he’s undefeated in three appearances in the blue vest.
“He’s top age, he’s got the runs on the board and he’s going to be hard to beat,” Burnett said.
“He loves The Meadows. He ran 29.68s there in the Silver Chief, which was six months ago, so if he gets it right he’s probably going to go quicker.
“If he comes out somewhere near them he’ll only need a keyhole opening and he’ll barge through.”
Who Told Stevie, which has now had seven starts back after spending four months on the sidelines, will also contend with an awkward draw in heat four, where he’s the $2.80 second elect from box five behind $1.90 favourite Tiggerlong Tonk.
“Before going to Brisbane he ran 29.29s at Sandown at his first run over 500m in five or six months and he ran a good, competitive race in the Brisbane Cup,” Burnett said.
“He could’ve come back for the Easter Egg or even the Australian Cup but that’s wouldn’t have been fair on the dog. I took my time, ran him around the country to get him right and his main aim is the Melbourne Cup.
“He’s up against Tiggerlong Tonk in his heat so I’m not sure about the seeding with him being a last start Group 1 placegetter but you’ve got to win both weeks to win it.”