Simon Told Helen Declared Australian GOTY

PREMIER sprinter Simon Told Helen has been crowned Australian Greyhound of the Year for the 2019/20 racing season for trainer David Burnett.

Adam Dobbin

20 September 2020

SIMON Told Helen has been crowned Australian Greyhound of the Year for the 2019/20 racing season.

The coveted award was declared on Sunday night by Greyhound Clubs Australia with their virtual presentation of greyhound racing’s night of nights.

Enjoying a remarkable season of racing, the David Burnett-trained Simon Told Helen was announced as Australia’s premier greyhound, in a line-up that included now retired superstars Whiskey Riot and Sennachie.

Run of The Year went to Hooked On Scotch via his stunning Group 1 Adelaide Cup triumph.

Now retired and receiving plenty of interest in the infancy of his stud journey, Hooked On Scotch’s remarkable Adelaide win was deemed the best performance for the year by media and industry administrators.

Anthony Azzopardi was announced as trainer of the year following his stellar 12 months with the collar and lead while Frank and Tracey Hurst were handed the Denise Fysh award for displaying courage and resilience in the face of adversity.

A full list of Sunday night’s awards winners are listed below.


GCA Greyhound Of The Year: SIMON TOLD HELEN

 What a remarkable racing season it was for Simon Told Helen.

 The David Burnett-trained son of Barcia Bale created a huge impression at his racetrack debut last September and from there never looked back, finishing the season with an astonishing six group race wins – three of those at group 1 level.

 Australia’s premier sprinter tasted group 1 glory in the Silver Chief, Perth Cup and Harrison Dawson, while claiming group 2 success in the Queensland Derby and group 3 wins in the Great Chase and Cup Night Sprint.

 Amassing over half-a-million dollars during the racing season, Simon Told Helen’s ascension to the top of the Australian sprinting ranks has been nothing short of sensational, racing almost exclusively in group race company.

 Simon Told Helen – a worthy winner of the 2019/20 GCA Greyhound Of The Year Award.   

Sire of The Year: Fernando Bale

It was yet another remarkable racing season for champion sire Fernando Bale as his offspring picked up a spate of big races right around the country.

 With his progeny winning over 5,000 races and a record $16.2 million in stake earnings, Fernando Bale laid claim to 12 group 1 winners during the season, led by superstar sprinters Sennachie and Whiskey Riot, each now forging their own careers at stud.

 Other group 1 winners during the season for Fernando Bale included Tornado Tears, Blue Moon Rising, Oh Mickey, Fernando’s Riot, Here’s Tears, Bronski Beat and Rockstar Patriot.

 It was another truly amazing year by the Hall of Fame chaser as a sire, continuing to have a profound influence over the Australasian breeding landscape.

 Fernando Bale … your 2019/20 Sire Of The Year.

Dam of the Year: Ready To Riot

 When your progeny wins Victoria’s two pinnacle events – the Melbourne and Australian Cup – there’s a good chance you’ll claim the coveted dam of the year award.

 And that’s exactly the case with the irrepressible Ready To Riot.

 Boasting Melbourne Cup winner Whiskey Riot and Australian Cup hero Fernando’s Riot among her progeny, Ready To Riot offspring raced 206 times during 2019/20 for 65 wins and $1.3 in prizemoney.

 And it wasn’t just two-time group 1 winner Whiskey Riot and Fernando’s Riot that claimed group race glory for Ready To Riot, with Caishen landing the Group 2 Launceston Cup.

 Ready To Riot’s influence on the breeding scene continues to be profound and the deeds of her offspring during 2019/20 more than earned her Dam of The Year for the racing season.

Run of the Year: Hooked On Scotch

 To win a group 1 race is no easy feat.

 To do it “coming from nowhere” to defeat two bonafide group 1 stars takes it a degree of difficulty further.

 And that’s exactly what Hooked On Scotch did when gunning down Sennachie and Whiskey Riot to win the 2019 Adelaide Cup – a performance that safely sealed the megastar galloper ‘Run of The Year’.

 In a performance that sent shivers up the spine of racegoers right around the country, the Jason Thompson-trained powerhouse was at the top his game heading into the Adelaide feature with a sublime 29.19 heat win.

 After giving away a decent start to greyhounds the calibre of Sennachie and Whiskey Riot in the final, even his most ardent supporters would have considered his chances forlorn.

 But doing only as Hooked On Scotch can, the freakish talent dropped from the clouds to produce one of the more stunning group 1 wins you’ll see, and in turn delivering connections the Run Of The Year gong.

 Denise Fysh Award:  Frank and Tracey Hurst 

In April 2019, the Australian greyhound industry lost a true icon with the passing of Denise Fysh after succumbing to cancer. Her passion and selfless devotion to the Hobart Club and to her home state Tasmania had a profound influence that will benefit generations to come.

Last year, in Perth, the inaugural Denise Fysh Award was presented to a young WA participant who had displayed enormous courage and resilience to overcome injuries the result of a serious traffic accident. 

This will to battle the odds, no matter how insurmountable, probably best epitomizes Denise’s memory.

The 2019/20 winner of this special award had a truly rollercoaster year. From the highs of success in the Million Dollar Chase with Good Odds Harada to emergency removal of a life-threatening brain tumour – its pretty fair to say Frank Hurst has experienced the full spectrum of emotions. 

In greyhound racing, and as we know in life, no one can do it alone and for Frank it was the unwavering support of wife Tracey that was by his side every step of the journey.

Now back at the track and training winners – the Denise Fysh Award goes to Frank and Tracey Hurst in recognition of their determination to overcome anything that dares get in the way. 

Trainer Of The Year: Anthony Azzopardi

 124 wins from 388 starters at a strike-rate of 32% for a whopping $1.68 million in prize money.

 They’re the lofty numbers that earned Anthony Azzopardi the 2019/20 Trainer of The Year Award.

 The Victorian mentor enjoyed another stellar year with the collar and lead which was led of course by Whiskey Riot’s watershed victory in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup.

 Not to be done there either, Azzopardi also scooped the Group 1 Australian Cup a few months later at The Meadows with Fernando’s Riot, causing an upset victory over Whiskey Riot in the time-honoured feature.

 As well as wins in the Melbourne and Australian Cups, Azzopardi also guided Whiskey Riot to victory in the Group 1 Temlee the same night Just Terms tasted group 1 glory in the Zoom Top Stayers.

 Enjoying success right around the country with his formidable kennel, Azzopardi also claimed the Group 2 Launceston Cup with Caishen.

 Anthony Azzopardi – a worthy victor of the 2019/20 Trainer Of The Year.