Jarrod McLean celebrates Trap For Fools' win (Image: Racing Photos)
Warrnambool horseman Jarrod McLean celebrated his biggest moment in racing on Saturday when Trap For Fools defied all comers to land the $2 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
So often a familiar face in the winner's stall as trainer Darren Weir's right-hand man with horses like Prince Of Penzance, Black Heart Bart and Humidor, the victory was McLean's first at Group 1 level in his own right and came with the progressive five-year-old that, until May, was prepared in Perth by his good friend Lindsey Smith.
The son of Poet's Voice, who won twice at The Valley in the early part of the spring before infamously being balloted out of last month's Ladbrokes Cox Plate, made all under John Allen and gamely fended off Derby winners Latrobe and Extra Brut in the final furlong of the race.
While it's normally Weir deflecting post-race praise onto McLean, the roles were reversed in the minutes after Saturday's Group 1 as the 37-year-old thanked his mentor and close friend.
"Since I've been with Weiry I think we've had 22 Group 1 winners so it's been an unbelievable three-and-a-half years," McLean said.
"I've learnt so much off him (Weir) over the last couple of years and I think I help him as much as he helps me.
"Weiry is a great man, he likes people to do well around him and I'm just rapt to be a small part of it.
"Today a dream come true, absolutely.
"I was hopeful (today) because we knew he was the leader in the race so it was just a matter of Johnny getting his clock right and cranking him up at the right time."
Latrobe was gallant in defeat for Joseph O'Brien and Mark Zahra and could tackle the Japan Cup (2400m) next start while Extra Brut will head to the paddock after a brilliant performance against the older horses only seven days after a gruelling Victoria Derby (2500m) triumph.
The disappointment of the race was Godolphin's Blair House who, according to jockey William Buick, failed to show his custom turn of speed.