Whether it is on the flat or over jumps, jockey John Allen is becoming a regular at winning feature races.
A week after claiming the Doomben Cup aboard Kenedna, Allen was in the winner’s stall at Sandown on Sunday after riding Chequered Flag in the Australian Hurdle for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
It was Allen’s third win in the race, having scored with Gotta Take Care (2014) and Renew (2017).
Before his success in Sunday’s Hurdle, Allen rode Eclair Breeze to win on the flat.
Chequered Flag ($2.35) held off the $2.25 favourite Killarney Kid by 2-3/4 lengths with Lucques ($21) 35 lengths away third.
The race was solidly run with the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Goodwood Zodiac ($5.50), under Shane Jackson, leading by 25 lengths a lap out before finishing fourth, almost 39 lengths from the winner.
Now one of the leading flat riders in Victoria, Allen still gets a thrill racing over jumps although he has restricted his rides this season.
“I’ve been pretty selective with what I ride but it’s always good to get on a good horse,” he said.
Chequered Flag has tasted defeat just once over hurdles and Allen thinks he’ is destined for bigger wins.
“He’s a horse that I’d ridden in his first season a couple of years ago and he’d shown plenty of promise,” Allen said.
“It was a brutally run race today but it played to our strengths.
“He always travelled well and jumped well and although I was left in front a long way out, I was confident he’d stay on.
“I think he’ll make a National horse over hurdles this year and maybe a National horse over the bigger ones next year.”
But whether Allen gets the opportunity to stick with Chequered Flag through the winter is undecided.
Allen is returning home to Ireland for a friend’s wedding in July and plans to stay for a few weeks to freshen up ahead of spring commitments.