RIVALS FALL F
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