Mon, Nov 12, 9:13am by Staff Writer
The famous Flemington carnival has come and gone for another year as ‘Stakes Day’ wrapped up proceedings on Saturday.
The Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) was one of two majors for the day and it capped off a stellar week for jockey John Allen who rode Trap for Fools to victory for trainer Jarrod McLean.
Leading from pillar to post, the five-year-old gelding held off a wall of horses to snare his first G1 victory and first for Maclean – who is also the right-hand man for trainer Darren Weir, running his Warrnambool stable. Trap for Fools was good in the G1 Turnbull (2000m) when going down to Winx by under 2L before running second in the G2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) after the Moonee Valley committee denied him a start in the G1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Latrobe loomed but couldn’t get his nose in front going down by 0.2L with three-year-old Extra Brut a further 0.2L behind, on the back-up from last week’s G1 VRC Derby (2500m) win. Connections of Latrobe are now contemplating a Japan Cup or Hong Kong start for the four-year-old who has only had the eight career starts to date. Blair House was sent out the solid but drifting favourite in the Mackinnon and never looked likely finishing seventh, over 5L from the winner.
Trap for Fools was Allen’s third win of the day – after claiming the Derby last week – his first win on Saturday coming aboard the Weir-trained colt, Ringerdingding. The three-year-old has always had a wrap on him and after a strong run on Moonee Valley’s ‘leader bias’ track, he needed the length of the Flemington straight to come from near last and reel in Scottish Rogue, in the end winning by half-a-length. As good as Ringerdingding was, backers of Secret Vega might feel a bit hard done by after an interrupted run down the straight.
In the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) for the mares, Allen and Weir combined again with Kenedna holding off the well tried Miss Siska – and Luvaluva – in a blanket finish, 1.7L covering the first eight over the line.
A field of 14 lined up in the G1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) with Santa Ana Lane winning his third G1 from his last six starts, just holding off a gallant In Her Time who finished the same margin – 0.3L – from ‘Santa’ earlier in the spring when third in the G2 Premiere Stakes (1200m). A sprinter who has always been highly touted, he’s gone to another level in the last six months and has strong claims in being the nation’s best sprinter – albeit an unofficial title, with Royal Ascot a possibility next year for the Freedman-trained gelding.
Every runner seemed to have their chance with Pierata and Jungle Cat dead-heating for third, the favourite Redzel back in fifth.
Jockey Mark Zahra has had a good Flemington carnival, Santa Ana Lane his second winner of the day after piloting Jaameh to a victory in the G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m).
Somewhat of a consolation for connections, it was a well-deserved win for Jaameh who had been narrowly beaten at his past two starts – a win in either would have seen him in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
The gelding was headed down the straight by eventual runner-up Sully, but he fought back to just get the bob of the head on the line. That win should get him closer to qualifying for next year’s Cup, something his connections don’t have to worry about for some time.
A crowd of 67,000 turned up on the final day of the carnival – with over 303,000 for the week – and on the final race of the four days, Damien Oliver rode Order of Command to victory and with that equalled Bobbie Lewis’ record of most winners (72) over the Flemington carnival.
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