John Allen is better known as a jumps jockey in Australia and his only ride at Flemington has been in a highweight race more than two years ago.
But the Irishman, who has enjoyed plenty of feature jumps race success, is hoping to make the most of a feature-race opportunity on the flat in Thursday’s Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m).
Allen has been riding regularly on the flat in the country and provincial areas of Victoria with 14 wins this season and he partners Hurdy Gurdy Man for premier trainer Darren Weir in Thursday’s Listed race.
He rides work for the Weir stable six mornings a week.
His only previous ride at Flemington was on Crafty Cruiser in the winter of 2012 when he finished second in a race for highweight riders.
“I’m getting a few more rides on the flat now which is good, especially this time of year when there’s no jumps racing,” Allen said.
“My weight is pretty good so it’s handy to get a few more rides on the flat.”
Hurdy Gurdy Man was runner-up with 60kg in last year’s Bagot and has the same weight on Thursday.
The seven-year-old opened at $15 but has firmed to $9 with in-form De Little Engine the $2.80 favourite after opening $3.20.
Allen has ridden Hurdy Gurdy Man in his past three starts, including a closing third in a Listed staying race at Werribee last start behind Bagot rivals Cadillac Mountain and Averau.
He also won the Murtoa Cup on the galloper last year.
“He’s progressing well and in his last run he was staying on well for third. So I’m hoping for a big run,” Allen said.
“With a bit of luck in running hopefully he can be there or thereabouts.”