The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK MACK­IN­NON STAKES

DE­NIED a Cox Plate start be­cause of a lack of elite per­for­mances, Trap For Fools stunned class op­po­si­tion to claim the Group 1 Mack­in­non Stakes (2000m) at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day.

Win­less in five pre­vi­ous black-type tilts, Trap For Fools ($26) crowned an event­ful spring for Jar­rod McLean with a spec­tac­u­lar tri­umph, hold­ing off Ir­ish Derby win­ner La­trobe ($5.50) and Vic­to­ria Derby win­ner Ex­tra Brut ($4.60).

Cel­e­brat­ing the big­gest win of his ca­reer, War­rnam­bool­based trainer McLean 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,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously it’ll be great to get a Grand An­nual (Steeplechase) one day with (brother) Brad (McLean), but this is great.

“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 imag­ined 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 his 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.

“I was rolling along at a good tempo and then I picked it up.

“La­trobe got to me at the fur­long pole (200m); I thought he had me for toast. This guy put his head down and fought.

“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 enough they couldn’t catch me.’’

Allen con­ceded he was for­tu­nate to have the mount.

“Luck prob­a­bly played its part,” he said.

“Ben Mel­ham and Dean Yen­dall are both sus­pended and they both have been rid­ing him.

“You need a bit of luck in this game and I was lucky enough to get the ride on him to­day.”

Favourite Blair House ($2.45) was a dis­ap­point­ing sev­enth.

MEANT TO BE: Trap For Fools holds off his ri­vals to win the Mack­in­non Stakes; and (right) trainer Jar­rod McLean and jockey John Allen. Pic­tures: Michael Klein

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