The versatility of Irish jockey John Allen goes on display again when he rides in a feature sprint race at Flemington.
A day after riding three of Darren Weir’s horses in jumps trials at Cranbourne, Allen will ride Mirage in the Listed Straight Six on Saturday.
It will be a new challenge for Allen who only a week ago secured his first Group One victory aboard Howard Be Thy Name won the South Australian Derby.
Allen has ridden at Flemington just seven times and is yet to taste success on Melbourne’s premier track.
But the tricky straight 1200m-course holds no fears for Allen.
“I rode a two-year-old down there during the spring so I’ve had a taste of it before,” Allen said.
“I’ve got to get him out and get going and adapt to it, but at the end it’s just another race.”
Allen, who cut his teeth on the jumps scene in Ireland before coming to Australia, has been gaining more opportunities on the flat in recent years.
He said flat racing was more tactical.
“You have to be smart out of the barriers whereas in jumps races it is getting your horse into a good rhythm and presenting them at the jumps right,” Allen said.
“Flat racing is more about getting a position early and you have to think a little quicker, especially over 1200 metres.”
Mirage showed he was getting back to his best form with a last-start third in the Wangoom Handicap at Warrnambool earlier this month at his third start for Weir.
Allen galloped Mirage at Ararat on Monday and said the gelding was in good form.
“He might have a preference for wet tracks but hopefully he’ll run well,” Allen said.
Mirage is a $16 chance for the Straight Six. Unfortunately for Allen he lost what may have been his best chance at the meeting with the scratching of Andrew Ramsden Stakes pre-race favourite Master Zephyr, who is to run in Adelaide.
Allen also has Flemington bookings for Un De Sceaux ($14) in the Les Carlyon AC Handicap, Crafty Cruiser ($51) in the Neville Begg Handicap and Rugged Cross ($41) in the Better Loosen Up Handicap.