Cox Plate miss proves stroke of luck
TRAP For Fools — denied a Cox Plate start because of a lack of elite performances — stunned class opposition to claim the $2 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Winless in five previous black-type tilts, Trap For Fools ($26) crowned an eventful spring for trainer Jarrod McLean with a spectacular triumph, holding off Irish Derby winner Latrobe ($5.50) and Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut ($4.60).
Warrnambool-based McLean, now celebrating the biggest win of his career, is yet to answer charges over Trap For Fools’ stabling arrangements on October 20.
The horse was controversially scratched from the Coongy Handicap at Caulfield because he was found boxed at Darren Weir’s Warrnambool stable instead of McLean’s Yangery yard.
The former Sandgroper was subsequently overlooked — on the basis of form— for a Cox Plate berth by the Moonee Valley Racing Club committee.
McLean, who doubles as Weir’s stable foreman, bore no grudges post-race.
“Obviously it was disappointing, the Cox Plate, but on that occasion I said that things happen for a reason,” McLean said. “Maybe this was meant to be.”
Trap For Fools was ridden brilliantly by John Allen, who won Saturday’s Derby on Extra Brut, completing an extraordinary carnival for the Irishman.
McLean’s previous biggest win was with Cougar Express in the Grand National Hurdle. “It’s a big thrill. Obviously, it’ll be great to get a Grand Annual one day with [brother] Brad [McLean] but this is great,” he said. “And how good is Johnny Allen going this week, and in general?
“Great bloke, great worker, a big part of our team. A big thrill to win my first Group 1 with Johnny Allen.”
Allen, who continues to mix flat and jumps riding, has taken his performance — and reputation — to a far wider audience than he dared imagine when he ventured to Australia.
“I took a chance a few years ago and it’s paid off,” Allen said after completing a Stakes Day treble.
“Thanks to Darren Weir and all of him team. It’s great to pay them back and Jarrod McLean who does a lot of work with Darren’s team. Unreal.
“Gee, the horse, he’s just so tough. They were coming at me. They didn’t go as slow as he likes, so we were left rolling along. But we just went at a good solid tempo all the way. It was catch me if you can, and luckily they couldn’t catch me.”