A fascinating renewal of the $2 million, Group 1, Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) saw a brilliant front-running ride by inform jockey John Allen to come up trumps on the $26.00 outsider Trap For Fools (by Poet’s Voice) in the feature weight-for-age event of Day Four of the 2018 VRC Melbourne Cup Carnival.
An intriguing field that saw this year’s Irish Derby winner Latrobe and VRC Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut line-up against each other, in addition to seeing Meydan Group 1 winner Blair House start a short-priced favourite, this year’s Mackinnon ultimately featured a tremendously well-judged ride by Allen when leading from start-to-finish.
After setting an even gallop in the early stages, Allen aboard Trap For Fools increased the tempo when racing into the expansive Flemington home turn before booting clear of his rivals at the top of the straight.
Some three-or-four lengths ahead of his opposition at one stage of the run-in, Trap For Fools managing to maintain a dwindling advantage all the way down the straight, courageously holding off the determined late finishes of Latrobe (by Camelot) in second and Extra Brut (by Domesday) in third.
Without taking anything away from the winner or the minor placegetter, the performance of the runner-up was outstanding. Having his first start in Australia after an extensive campaign in Europe, Latrobe was asked to concede 6.5kgs to Extra Brut — a fellow 2018 3YO Classic winner essentially in the same age group.
The official margins of a head by a short-neck gives some sort of indication of how desperate Allen got on the winner over the closing stages, as well as how well Latrobe and Extra Brut finished off from the tale of the field.
Trap For Fools has the head in front, picture Quentinjlang.com
Speaking immediately after the biggest victory of his burgeoning career, winning jockey John Allen was keen to give plenty of credit to the victorious trainer Jarrod McLean and the tremendously willing partner underneath him.
“Unreal,” Allen declared. “Obviously, a big thank you to Jarrod for giving me this [ride].
“Gee, the horse, he’s just so tough. I was rolling along at a good tempo and then I picked it up. La Trobe got to me at the furlong pole. 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.
Allen continued: “Unbelievable, really. The horse, just credit to him. He’s so tough. They came at him at the furlong pole and he just really tried for me. I was waiting for my old mate Extra Brut to come after me late but I was too strong today.
“Credit to Jarrod and his team who do all the work. Obviously Jarrod is a big part of Darren Weir’s team, so it’s brilliant to pay them back.”
Best known as a foreman for the all-conquering Darren Weir stable, winning trainer Jarrod McLean also runs a stable in his own name and was obviously keen to celebrate the biggest victory of his individual career.
Still in a relative state of shock after the tight finish, McLean confessed: “Obviously, I was waiting for the post to come. It’s the best I’ve ever seen him kick. Obviously I was hoping for that in the gallop to the line.
“[It was a] Great ride by Johnny and a huge thrill today… so many people to thank.”
Reflecting on the unique circumstances of his training arrangement, McLean added: “I’ve learnt so much off him [Darren Weir] over the last couple of years, and I think I help him as much as he helps me; a great team effort and a huge thrill to win a Group 1 today.
“My business is going really good. Weiry is a great man. He likes people to do well around him and I’m just rapt to be a small part if it.”
Based at Warrnambool, home of arguably the most celebrated jumping event on the domestic racing calendar, McLean concluded: “It’s a big thrill. Obviously, it’ll be great to get a Grand Annual one day… 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. [It’s] A big thrill to win my first Group 1 with Johnny Allen.”
Starting prices on the Mackinnon were $26.00 Trap For Fools, $5.50 Latrobe, and $4.60 Extra Brut.
Winning time of the race was 2m02.31s (final 600m in 35.49s) — some one-and-a-half seconds faster than that recorded in the Matriach Stakes earlier on the same program.
Raced by Distinct Racing & Breeding Pty Ltd (Mgr: G W Evans), Trap For Fools took his earnings to $1,821,380 with the 13th victory of his 31-race career.
Trap For Fools and John Allen, picture Quentinjlang.com
Mackinnion Stakes, photo finish picture Racing.com