Cox Plate miss proves stroke of luck

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - LEO SCHLINK

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.”

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