Australia’s best sprinter Simon Told Helen continued his domination of feature racing in 2020 when claiming his fourth Group 1 trophy for the year in the KCR Pet Transport Maturity Classic Final (525m) at The Meadows.
Trained by David Burnett, Simon Told Helen opened his Group 1 account at the same venue back in January when winning another age-restricted event, the Silver Chief, as a ‘bottom ager’ before adding the Perth Cup and Harrison-Dawson.
Heading into the Maturity heats, Burnett warned that six months after clocking 29.68s in the Silver Chief Simon Told Helen was capable of going faster and the son of 2012 Maturity winner Barcia Bale vindicated that judgement, posting a scintillating 29.596s.
“The dog just keeps doing it week in and week out,” a delighted Burnett told Gareth Hall.
“It’s relief. I’m proud of the dog and proud of everything he’s done.
“That was a hot field and to run 29.59s – the best time of his career – he just did his traditional break-them-up. It was a super effort.
“Six months ago we didn’t think he was very strong, when he was running his 29.90s here, but he just keeps going lower and lower.
“They don’t run 29.59s that often at The Meadows and he’s only just turned 29 months so maturity is probably another couple of months off and hopefully by the Melbourne Cup is when he’s going to hit his straps.”
After a 29.68s heat victory, Simon Told Helen started $1.90 favourite from box three.
It was almost a replay of the Silver Chief, with Christo Bale ($4.70), Hard Style Rico ($5.20) and Tiggerlong Tonk ($10.30), the next three in betting, all lining up for another crack at the superstar.
Simon Told Helen came out running and after seeing off Tiggerlong Tonk in the run to the first turn he raced clear of Hard Style Rico with a near-record second split of 17.38s, missing the great Fernando Bale’s record, established in the 2015 Maturity, by the barest of margins.
Four-time Group 1 finalist Hard Style Rico momentarily looked a threat turning for home but Simon Told Helen wasn’t for catching, defeating Hard Style Rico by 1.53 lengths, with Tiggerlong Tonk third and Christo Bale fourth.
The $100,000 winner’s purse took Simon Told Helen past $625,000 in earnings with his 19th win from 30 starts and seventh from nine at The Meadows.
“He’s a great dog – the nose says it all!” said Burnett, referring to his champion’s Roman nose.
“People are following him; radio, newspapers, the local people in Geelong, the owners are copping it left, right and centre – they’re having a ball.
“It’s such a good thing for the sport and the dog just keeps holding up his end. You guys (media) keep putting pressure on him calling him the number one dog and to his credit the dog keeps holding up. I’m not but he is!”
Photos by Clint Anderson