Fools, Allen spring their longshot trap
DENIED a Cox Plate start because of a lack of elite performances, Trap For Fools yesterday stunned his class opposition to claim the $2 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes.
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) over the 2000m trip.
Warrnambool-based McLean, who celebrated 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 after the 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 last 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 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.
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. Look, you need a bit of luck in this game and I was lucky enough to get the ride on him today.”
BIG UPSET: Trap For Fools holds on and, inset, John Allen offers the crowd a souvenir.