By Duane Fonseca
John Allen claimed a third Group 1 South Australian Derby success in five years but his celebrations would have been curtailed after news of his suspension for an infringement during the ride emerged.
The Irish rider was suspended by stewards for carelessly riding early in the 2500m Group 1 contest at Morphetville, during which he attempted to shift inwards towards the rail and in the process tightened the passage of Ryan Hurdle who rode Exalted Ambition.
Allen was pulled up for the infringement and his suspension starts after next Saturday’s action at Morphettville, which will feature the Group 1 $400,000 The Furphy Goodwood over 1200m. It will cover five meetings in the state and conclude on 27 May.
Allen delivered a peach of a ride aboard the Danny O’Brien trained Russian Camelot, the Northern Hemisphere bred Camelot colt rounding off his rivals before bounding clear in the last furlong to win by a length and three fourths from Dalasan. Last year’s Victoria Derby winner Warning was a further length adrift in third.
“Obviously, he’s an exceptional horse,” said Allen, who won the 2017 and 2017 renewals of the South Australian Derby with the Darren Weir trained pair of Howard Be Thy Name and Volatile Mix respectively.
“A lot’s been made of his preparation, but I think the bigger factor is he’s still six months younger than these horses.
“If he can beat them now, when he’s only just turned three, imagine what he can in six months or a year’s time.”
Allen was all praise for winning trainer O’Brien, adding: “I was comfortable with the way he was travelling (early), but probably not comfortable where I was in the race.
“Danny filled me with confidence. He said, ‘Ride this horse like he was the best horse’ and he was confident if he was close enough on the corner that he’d have a better turn of foot and it proved that way. He was just a superior horse.”
The suspension, meanwhile, will be a blow for Allen who put himself in self-quarantine for two weeks to be eligible to ride in the state of South Australia after travelling from neighbouring Victoria state.