By TERRY WILSON
NATIONAL Greyhound of the Year, Simon Told Helen, is ‘most likely’ to be heading north to chase some of the big dollars being offered during the upcoming Summer Greys Carnival at Albion Park.
Little River (Victoria) trainer David Burnett said starts in the Golden Ticket series, leading into the Group 1 Gold Bullion (520m) are definitely on the cards for Simon Told Helen, who late last year was named Greyhound Clubs Australia Greyhound of the Year for the 2019-2020 period.
Already a classic winner at Albion Park – Simon Told Helen won the G2 Queensland Derby late in 2019 – the black dog has chalked up four Group 1 wins and 11 Group wins overall during his stellar career that has netted his connections prizemoney close to one million dollars.
And as Chase newspaper headed into the festive season, Simon Told Helen had finished second in three successive Group 1 events – the Melbourne Cup at Sandown, the TAB Topgun at The Meadows and the Dapto Megastar in New South Wales.
The dog was runner-up to Flying Ricciardo in the Dapto Megastar after similar finishes to Hard Style Rico in the Melbourne Cup at Sandown and Shima Shine in the TAB Topgun at The Meadows.
Before that Simon Told Helen had won G1s in Perth, the Silver Chief and the Harrison Dawson in Melbourne.
Little wonder Burnett is pretty keen to bring his star north for an assault at the northern money.
Burnett said a start in the Group 3 Golden Ticket series from January 14 to January 21 is being strongly considered.
The Golden Ticket winner – the series covers match-races – gets a Gold Bullion start.
“And that is certainly an option at the moment,” said Burnett.
Other options for Burnett heading into a Queensland campaign could be starts in the Gosford Gold Cup and the Paws of Thunder at Wentworth Park.
Burnett put Simon Told Helen’s defeats in his last three Group 1 appearances down to being beaten by better dogs on the night.
It is not clear what Grandchester trainer Tony Brett will do with his Sennachie Queensland Derby winner Sentenced and give the young dog a crack at the top-class sprinters in the Golden Ticket and the Gold Bullion.
Owner Steve Williams said he would love to see the dog tackle the big events but that is a decision that will be solely in the hands of Brett.
The flying Sennachie won both the Ticket and Bullion last year for Victorian trainer Steve White.
Ipswich Gold Cup winner Farmor Beach (Wayne Scott) is also a possible starter in the Summer Greys Carnival big races.
So will Mick Zammit pair Oh Mickey and Sequana, all going well in the lead-up campaigns.
But with the border bans coming down we can expect a flood of quality performers from interstate.
And this excites Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club boss Luke Gatehouse.
“Last year’s inaugural Summer Carnival was a wonderful success and we’re hoping to build on it this time,” he said, thankful that the coronavirus restrictions were easing.
“I knew it would happen because we kept on racing even though it had an impact on our winter carnival.”
“Now we’re hoping to get some top-liners from Victoria and New South Wales with the level of money on offer – and they know they get looked after up here.”
The main events of the Summer Greys Carnival are:
Golden Sands 600m Group 2 ($60,000) – heats December 31, final January 7.
Golden Ticket 520m Group 3 ($47,250) – heats January 14, final January 21.
Gold Bullion 520m Group 1 ($235,000) – heats January 28, final February 4.
Gold Cup 710m Listed ($113,000) – heats January 28, final February 4.
Queensland Short Course Championship 331m ($12,600) – heats January 31, final February 4.
The Brisbane club also has plans for a spectacular laser and light show featuring the Cold Chisel Revisited band. Last February it was the Queen Experience that lit up the crowd at the Creek.