Shoals And Santa After Two-State G1 Double

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Group One races in separate states will launch the preparations of Anthony Freedman-trained star stablemates Shoals and Santa Ana Lane, who could both campaign overseas later in the year.

Three-time Group One winner Shoals resumes in Saturday’s weight-for-age Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick, 20 minutes after four-time Group One winner Santa Ana Lane takes aim in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.

Shoals was also entered for the Newmarket but connections decided on Sydney.

“The Randwick track is usually a little bit softer than Flemington and (with) the big field of the Newmarket, she doesn’t really need a full-on gut buster first-up,” Freedman’s racing manager Brad Taylor said.

“Although the Canterbury Stakes is very strong, it just seems a nice race to kick off her preparation and we know she runs well at Randwick.”

Shoals has two wins, including the Group One Surround Stakes, and a second from four Randwick starts.

The mare was scratched from the Oakleigh Plate two weeks ago when her blood picture was less than perfect but Taylor said it was more precautionary.

“She trialled the week after on the Wednesday and ran a very quick time at Balnarring,” he said.

“It was a very strong trial, Santa (Ana Lane) was in behind her, and we were really pleased. She’s in good order.”

Shoals has had three jump-outs over 1000m so Taylor said the 1300m first-up should not be an issue and he expects her to run well.

After her autumn targets at home, connections will consider all options including a trip to England.

“We spoke about it last year after she won the Sangster but just decided to keep her here for The Everest,” Taylor said.

“She’s a very valuable mare and her racing days are probably closer to the end than the start, so Europe would probably be an option and then going to visit one of the top stallions over there is what they could be looking at.

“Nothing is set in stone yet. We’ll just see how she runs.”

Santa Ana Lane has equal top weight of 58.5kg in the Newmarket and is on a path towards next month’s TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney, before potential overseas targets.

“He’s coming up terrific,” Taylor said.

“He’s probably a little further forward than we had him first-up last year. He’s forward enough to run a bold race but then again he’s still going to take good improvement out of this run too.

“He’s in for a long preparation that could include Hong Kong and Royal Ascot.”

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