It was a case of ‘the usual suspects’ in tonight’s Group 2 Geelong Cup Gold Cup heats (520m).
And, oh boy, do we have a race on our hands in next Friday night’s $50,000-to-the-winner final.
Superstars Simon Told Helen, Shima Shine, Tiggerlong Tonk and Catch The Thief (pictured above) all won their heats in brilliant fashion. In fact, only one length separated them on times.
The Correy Grenfell-trained Tiggerlong Tonk ($2.10F) set the time standard defeating Gladioli Bale ($21.60) by 4.3L in 29.83sec. Winner of the G2 Horsham Cup and a four-time G1 finalist, Tiggerlong Tonk notched his sixth win from nine starts in Box 8.
He was followed by the Andrea Dailly-trained Shima Shine ($1.10F), who defeated Bobby The Brute ($11.10) by 1.4L in 29.85sec. A two-time G1 finalist and dual track record holder, Shima Shine made it five wins from his past six starts.
The David Burnett-trained Simon Told Helen is not a four-time G1 winner and the Australian GOTY for nothing!
WATCH: Ultimate professional Tiggerlong Tonk (8) clocks the fastest G2 Geelong Gold Cup heat time of 29.83sec.
Simon Told Helen ($1.10F) defeated Lucy’s Milo ($12.10) by 7.9L in 29.86sec. It was his fourth win from five starts in Box 3.
Show stealer Catch The Thief ($1.04F), trained by Matt Clark, proved too smart defeating Halberd Bale ($10.50) by 4L in 29.90sec.
The G2 WA Derby and G3 Warragul St Leger winner, and runner-up in the G1 Adelaide Cup, notched his 13th win from his past 19 starts.
Sweet As Emm ($4.40), trained by Brendan Pursell, won her heat defeating G2 Bendigo Cup winner Yozo Bale ($2.40F) by 0.3L in 30.16sec.
And ‘local knowledge’ came to the fore… Five of the finalists hail from the Geelong region – Shima Shine and Gladioli Bale (Anakie), Simon Told Helen (Little River) and Sweet As Emm and Bobby The Brute (Lara).
Tiggerlong Tonk and Yozo Bale are prepared in Mount Wallace, only 50km away, while Catch The Thief is trained in Gippsland.
Meanwhile, three trainers have a dual chance in the final – Grenfell (Tiggerlong Tonk and Yozo Bale); Dailly (Shima Shine and Gladioli Bale); and Pursell (Sweet As Emm and Bobby The Brute).
Tiggerlong Tonk: 29.83sec
Shima Shine: 29.84sec
Simon Told Helen: 29.86sec
Catch The Thief: 29.90sec
Sweet As Emm: 30.16sec
Photos by Clint Anderson