From go to whoa and coast to the coast: the victory of Trap For Fools in Saturday’s G1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington was certainly celebrated far and wide.
Owner-breeder Geoff Evans was drowned out by the large Melbourne crowd when he cheered home the WA-bred winner while former trainer Lindsey Smith watched the race unfold on TV at Ascot racecourse in Perth.
And it definitely was some win. The Jarrod McLean-trained Trap For Fools had led from the jump and several times down the long Flemington straight it appeared as he would be overhauled by the Irish Derby winner Latrobe and the Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut.
However, Trap For Fools held on gamely to get up in a nail-biter much to the delight of Evans and Smith. “I was sitting next to my good mate Rob Hickmott and it brought back memories of Almandin, who Rob trained to win the Melbourne Cup two years ago- he got up in a head bobber as well,” Evans told Aushorse. “I was all prepared to run second – and be happy with it – but Trap For Fools just kept holding on.
“A lot of people get excited about winning a sprint race, any race for that matter, but I do love the staying contests. I could rattle 20 Mackinnon winners off the top of my head…it has an incredible honour-roll.
“Sure, you can have your share of low points in racing: I had Perth Cup winner Free At Last run second in a Craiglee and get balloted from the Turnbull and Melbourne Cup, while Rockferry was favourite for the 2009 Victoria Derby before finishing fifth.
“You take the good with the bad in this game and Saturday turned out to be very good! You’ve just got to keep going.”
Trap For Fools is among 16 stakes winners for Poet’s Voice out of Old Money (Old Spice), a full sister to Old Cobber (C B Cox Stakes x 2) and closely related to Linc The Leopard (Perth Cup).
Old Money won a WA Derby and WA Oaks before campaigning in the United States where she was multiple stakes-placed. Fortunately for Evans, Old Money was spied at a Keeneland Sale by astute agent Damon Gabbedy who managed to secure her for $50,000.
Eleven years on, it’s paid dividends for Evans who operates Key Farm in thoroughbred country at Serpentine. His other interstate Group 1 winners include Lucky Hussler and Alinghi who he bred in partnership with Joe Throsby.
“There’s around a dozen mares on the property but Old Money died a couple of years back,” he said. “I’ve got her last foal with Lindsey, an unraced 3yo called Too Close The Sun (Carlton House).”
Evans clearly had his day in the sun on Saturday, while Smith – who trained Trap For Fools for three successive stakes victories twelve months ago in Perth – couldn’t have been happier for Evans and McLean.
“I watched the Mackinnon from under the rotunda at Ascot – one of the few places on course where you can see the race and have a quiet ‘gasper’ in peace,” Smith points out. “Anyway, I was cheering like crazy and yelling out ‘Go Bags’ which is actually the stable nickname of his mum Old Money.
“There was some old bloke standing next to me who kept asking me ‘who is Bags’ and I yelled back ‘he’s the effing one in front’. Gee, it was a great race.”
“Jarrod’s a good mate and won a Grand National Hurdle with Cougar Express who had earlier won two stakes races in WA for me,” Smith adds. “I’m also sending across Prize Catch who won the Ascot Gold Cup for the stable on Saturday.
“The very good horses get weighted out of races over here and you don’t want to stifle their opportunities. However, you can tell Jarrod he can reciprocate any time he likes – I can’t keep sending everything across to him wrapped in a big, red ribbon!”