Multiple Group One winner Santa Ana Lane will be given the chance to prove he is far from a spent force as one of Australia’s best sprinters.
The Anthony Freedman-trained Santa Ana Lane went winless during his most recent four-run preparation that included a runner-up finish in his defence of the Group One TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick.
Santa Ana Lane was unplaced on a heavy track in The Everest two years ago before finishing second to three-year-old Yes Yes Yes in last spring’s Everest.
Freedman’s son and assistant trainer, Sam Freedman, said the rising eight-year-old was due to come back into the stables from a spell this week to prepare for the spring.
“That’s the plan at this stage. We’ll get him in the stable, we know him pretty well, if he gives us the sign that he’s not enjoying his work at any stage we’d pull up stumps,” Freedman said.
“But he had a couple of excuses last preparation and we feel that he’s still racing well. He’s not disgracing himself and this spring we’d probably look to potentially go down a similar path where he’d go to the Gilgai first-up.
“We’re under no illusions that Everest slot holders might be viewing him as over the hill, that might be a possible stance that they might have, but we’re hopeful that we can show them that he’s still capable to be at the top and warrant a spot in The Everest again.”
A winner of five Group One races, Santa Ana Lane’s most recent victory was in the Group One TJ Smith in April last year.
While Santa Ana Lane was sixth in last month’s The Goodwood, won by Trekking, his stablemate Lyre was third after finishing second two weeks earlier in the Group One Robert Sangster Stakes.
Freedman said last year’s Godolphin-owned Group One Blue Diamond winner would race on as a four-year-old.
“They have decided to keep her in training for another year which is great,” he said.
“Her last two runs showed that with the addition of the blinkers she’s a much better horse.
“Knowing now that she’s a short-course horse and a blinker horse allows us to really nail down a preparation for her in the spring which we haven’t finalised yet.”