Johnny Allen takes no COVID-19 chances ahead of latest Derby bid with Explosive Jack

Horse Racing Explosive Jack going for another Derby
Explosive Jack (Johnny Allen) wins South Australian Derby. Photo: Atkins Photography

By NZ Racing Desk

Australia: Explosive Jack, the prince of Australian racing, can etch his name in the racing history books on Saturday when he bids for a fourth Derby success – and jockey Johnny Allen has taken no chances ahead of the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm.

The former Irish jump jockey was not going to let the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne disrupt his hopes of completing a memorable four-timer on the son of Jakkalberry, who is out to the G1 Brisbane feature to victories in the Tasmanian Derby, the Australian (former AJC) Derby at Randwick and South Australian Derby at Morphettville.

Melbourne-based Allen left before Queensland shut their border to Victorians so as he could ride Explosive Jack at Eagle Farm, where the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained colt is looking to emulate 1970s three-year-old star Dayana as a four-time Derby winner.

Allen, 36, is returning from suspension on Saturday having not ridden since May 9 and was quick to pack up and leave Victoria on Wednesday when it looked likely the border would close.

The journey of jockey Johnny Allen – halfway round the world to find success

“Initially I didn’t plan on coming up until Saturday and then I decided to come Wednesday after racing at Sandown,” Allen told RSN. “But then I was chatting to Ciaron and a few of the owners and I ended with only one ride at Sandown.

“It was in similar ownership to Explosive Jack and I think they were keen for me to get up here before they closed the border.”

The prospects of a dry track at Eagle Farm is a slight concern for Allen with Explosive Jack’s three previous Derby victories coming on soft ground.

“No doubt his best form has been on soft tracks but he’s won on good tracks twice as well, so I don’t see it as a real issue and we’ll find out more after Saturday,” Allen said.

“He’s a really laid-back character. Ciaron and David have done a great job with him. He’s a real good stayer and he’s got plenty of ability to back that up. Hopefully everything goes well on Saturday and we can add a fourth Derby to mantelpiece.”

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