Scene Set For Brisbane Cup Blockbuster

DAVID Burnett will move from the car to the pub this Thursday night to watch the Group 1 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup Final (520m) at Albion Park.

Adam Dobbin

1 July 2020

TRAINER David Burnett will move from the car to the pub this Thursday night to watch siblings Simon Told Helen and Who Told Stevie contest a star-studded Group 1 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup Final (520m) at Albion Park.

Unable to travel to Brisbane due to the ongoing Queensland border closures, Burnett was forced to watch on from 1,600 kilometres away last week as the star duo finished second in their heats to qualify for Thursday night’s bumper group 1 showpiece.  

“I watched their heat runs on my phone in the car at Sandown … it was the first time I haven’t been at the track when either have raced,” Burnett said.

“This week the owners and I have a small gathering organised at a pub in Geelong to cheer the boys home. Fingers crossed everything goes to plan. The week has been perfect, I can’t fault them.”

One can’t help but get the feeling that there’s a sense of occasion about Thursday night’s Brisbane Cup given the group 1 firepower set to contest the feature.

They’re all there. Group 1 winning kennel-mates Hooked On Scotch and Black Opium, local champ Oh Mickey, and of course Simon Told Helen and Who Told Stevie.

The old saying “to be the best you have to beat the best” is very much in full effect this Thursday because whoever does win will have to do just that. 

And it’s a sentiment not lost on Burnett, fully aware of the enormity of the occasion.

“You always want to prove you can match it and beat the best,” Burnett said.

“Look at the race – group 1 winners, track record holders … it has everything and whoever wins will have to earn it.

“I’m actually surprised Oh Mickey isn’t favourite ahead of Simon Told Helen. He qualified the fastest and we are on his home track. It’s a bit unfair he’s not favourite in my opinion.”

Winner at 17 of his 27 starts and $516,000 in prize money, Simon Told Helen chases a fourth group 1 title this Thursday night.

“He’s already proven himself in open group 1 company but a win on Thursday against that class of field would be another step up,” added Burnett.

But to secure victory, Simon Told Helen will need to bounce back after being surprisingly run down in his heat right on the line by exciting local Special Cyndie.

The 29.80 time well off the 29.45 recorded by Oh Mickey two races later.

“It’s not an excuse, he was fairly beaten, but I think running the 29.11 at Sandown the week before may have flattened him a bit,” Burnett said.

“How often do you see a really fast run not backed up the following week? His back section wasn’t what it should have been and I was light on him before Sandown so I expect that run last week to bring him right on.”

And box eight – the draw he annexed last year’s Queensland Derby from?

“Perfect,” Burnett said.

“But he can’t afford to miss it like he did last week. He’s just a bulldozer into that first corner but the risk is that he cuts across too early and causes some havoc with that 36 kilos of his.”

And it’s that concern about potential first turn carnage that has Burnett quietly confident Who Told Stevie can crack it for group 1 glory.

The two brothers have raced each other twice previously with Simon Told Helen claiming victory on both occasions.

“If you made me have $10 on one of them Thursday it’d go on Stevie,” Burnett said.

“If he comes out from box two I really can’t see how they are going to cross him. It’s his third 520m back this time after the long spell.

“At his first one he ran 29.29 finishing second to his brother at Sandown and the other night he finished second to Oh Mickey running 29.73 himself.

“And that was after his first plane trip and first run at Albion Park. He’s got plenty of upside and I still say he’s the faster of the two and the draw looks perfect.”

Burnett has elected to adopt the same lead up to Thursday night’s group 1 decider as he did last week.

“They’ll fly up again on Thursday morning,” Burnett said.

Martina (Kirillidis) weighed them when they arrived last week and they were .3 and .4 up on their previous racing weights so they were spot on.

“They’ve been checked over on the weekend and been given the okay and I’m having their bloods done today (Tuesday) to make sure that’s all in order as well. It’s up to them now.”

Victory on Thursday night will hand Burnett a second Brisbane Cup after Kiss Me Ketut secured the Queensland feature in 2013.