A rollercoaster week for local trainer David Burnett finished on a high when Australian Greyhound of the Year Simon Told Helen was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the Group 2 Beckley Centre Geelong Gold Cup Final on Friday night.
It was a bittersweet moment for Little River-based Burnett, as he lost Simon Told Helen’s star litter brother Who Told Stevie in tragic circumstances just days earlier.
“He did it for Stevie,” said an emotional Burnett post-race.
The decision to move the Cup distance to 520m paid off handsomely for the Geelong GRC, with the star-studded field labelled by many experts as the best in the race’s history.
Betting was dominated by the ‘Fab Four’ in $3.10 favourite Shima Shine, joint $4 second elects Simon Told Helen and Catch The Thief, and fastest heat winner Tiggerlong Tonk at $5.70.
WATCH: Simon Told Helen (7) beats a star-studded field in the 2020 Geelong Cup over the fast-finishing Bobby The Brute (3) and Tiggerlong Tonk (4).
Drawn in box seven, Simon Told Helen quickly allayed Burnett’s concerns about the rain-affected surface and wide alley, showing his trademark early pace to cross to the lead in the run to the first turn.
The flying front-runner then opened up a decisive mid-race advantage and kept going strongly to defeat Bobby The Brute by one length in 29.98s, with Tiggerlong Tonk third.
“I was far from confident,” Burnett said.
“He’s had three runs on wet tracks. In the Silver Bullet at The Meadows last year he led by 15 lengths and got run down and in his two runs at Warrnambool during the Cup series when he ran second, so I was petrified tonight!
“But to the dog’s credit he just does everything he needs to do.
“The field tonight was just sensational and to get across them was terrific.
“We knew he had to find three or four lengths down the back to hold them off and luckily he was that far in front.”
It was Simon Told Helen’s 23rd win from 38 starts, his eighth victory at Group level and his first country cup, while the $50,000 winner’s purse took his career earnings to just shy of $700,000.
“I’m still shaking my head,” said Burnett.
“It’s his eighth Group race in 12 months, he’s never run in a grade 5 race in his life and to be buttering up each week in heats and finals is just a credit to the dog.
“He’s got that want, need and desire to chase. He’s just a true race dog.”
Earlier in the night high profile local trainers won both the Geelong Derby and Oaks Finals.
Angela Langton trained the quinella in the Derby, with Super Zoom Jake outpointing $2.20 favourite Mr. Fix It in 25.98s, while Andrea Dailly also celebrated a one/two finish in the Oaks with Surella Bale downing Gypsy Zelda in 25.94s.
Photos by Clint Anderson