Poetic justice as Santa Ana Lane sinks rivals

10 November 2018 7:02 AM

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It was indeed poetic justice for the owners and the stable that Santa Ana Lane got the firmer surface down the straight that he had been denied in the monsoonal conditions in Sydney when he went north to contest The Everest.

Like many in that race he simply could not act on the heavy ground in which the VRC Sprint Classic favourite Redzel had excelled as he scooted round Randwick to go back-to-back.

The Freedman camp licked their wounds, came back to Melbourne to regroup and decided to target the big sprint on the final day of the carnival.

There was certainly rhyme and reason in their plan, and jockey Mark Zahra, a substitute for the suspended usual rider Ben Melham, found the perfect metre for his late challenge.

The galloper began slowly but in line with instructions from Freedman he didn't panic and waited for the right moment. Santa Ana Lane is a horse with a devastating turn of foot who has to be kept locked away behind rivals and delivered as late as possible, which Zahra did.

In the end he had a neck to spare over the fast-finishing In Her Time with Jungle Cat, the English challenger, and Pierata, from Sydney, in a dead heat for third.

Freedman was philosophical about the disappointment in Sydney and the joy of victory on his home turf.

''I thought he was spot on for Sydney. We came home and just regrouped. He had a nice trial up here as we always had a question mark up the straight because he had two failures earlier in his career, although one was over 1000 metres, the other he got shunted over the wrong side.

''I am glad we took the option to run him. It would have been nice to go to Hong Kong [for the main international meeting in December], but that's not happening.

Freedman said it was unlikely he would travel to Royal Ascot unless the owners specifically wanted a big day out on the other side of the world. Santa Ana Lane, a gelding, has no stud value to enhance by winning a group 1 in Europe.

''Ascot, there's just not enough money there to be perfectly blunt about it and he's got no agenda because he's a gelding," Freedman said.

Source: brisbanetimes.com.au

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