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Anthony Freedman-trained Santa Ana Lane was clearly not himself last time out in the listed Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield, the Group 1 winner beating just one horse home at Caulfield back on the 21st of April.

A sharp improvement is expected when the Rupert Clarke Stakes winner steps out at Morphetville on Saturday, lining up as the top weight in the Group 3 D C McKay Stakes. It will be the second crack in South Australia for Santa Ana Lane, the 5-year-old finishing 5th of 20 in last years Group 1 Goodwood behind Vega Magic and Missrock and in true style coming from deep back in the field, finishing off as strongly as ever.

5-time winner Santa Ana Lane will relish perhaps weaker company than he is used to, and while beaten convincingly by Sprightly Lass last time out should find this assignment significantly easier than some opponents met in the last 12 months, including Viddora, Mr Sneaky, So Si Bon, Brave Smash and Vega Magic.

Without question, Anthony Freedmans’s galloper possesses a huge turn-of-foot and will look to use that to his advantage when likely drifting back early from a wide draw. Placed in 2 of 3 over 1100m, Santa Ana Lane’s best final 600 of 32.86 puts him well and truly in contention to take out one of Adelaide’s feature races.

Santa Ana Lane has drawn barrier 9 with the ever-so reliable Mark Zahra to steer. The Group 1 winner is a current $17 shot with online bookmaker, ridiculous overs providing he is at his best. The D C McKay top-weight has been placed 3 times in group class, winning at both Group 3 and Group 1 level.

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