The Queensland Derby ride on Volatile Mix presents jockey John Allen with his latest chance to add to a string of feature race wins in recent months – both on the flat and over jumps.
In the past two months Allen has claimed his second-straight Group One South Australian Derby on the Darren Weir-trained Volatile Mix and won three stakes races on stablemate Kenedna, two in Adelaide and one in Brisbane.
During the Warrnambool May carnival he rode a record seven winners over the three days, highlighted by wins in the feature jumps races on Regina Coeli in the Grand Annual Steeplechase and Renew in the Galleywood Hurdle.
While Volatile Mix had Derby lead-up in the Grand Prix Stakes at Eagle Farm two weeks ago, charging home for a close second with Damian Lane aboard, Allen remained in Victoria and snared another feature jumps win on the Weir-trained Renew in the Australian Hurdle at Sandown.
Volatile Mix is among the favourites for Saturday’s Group One Queensland Derby but has the second-widest barrier.
Allen would also have preferred the race to have remained at Eagle Farm rather than being changed to Doomben with the distance reduced from 2400 to 2200 metres.
But the Irishman still believes he’s on the horse with the right credentials.
“He’s drawn wide unfortunately but there’s nothing we can do about that now, only try to counteract it,” Allen said.
“He’s a get-back horse anyway so we’ll probably just have to ride for a bit of luck.
“He’s improved with each run and he was unlucky last time. If he had got around the corner better at Eagle Farm he probably would have won.
“I would have definitely preferred it was 2400 metres at Eagle Farm but hopefully he’ll be sharp enough for 2200 at Doomben.”
“He handled the track there two weeks ago and the 2400 on a big, galloping track would have suited him.
“There’s nothing we can do about that now though.
“It looks a very even race. He probably has the stand-out form but obviously the bad gate probably evens it up a bit more.
“If we get a bit of luck in running we should be thereabouts.”