Trainer Anthony Freedman’s decision to be ruthless about the horses he starts in Group One races has paid off again, with Santa Ana Lane winning the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben.
It was Freedman’s sixth Group One win of the season from just two horses, as Santa Ana Lane and his mare Shoals have each won three races.
Freedman is now likely to look at getting both in the $13 million The Everest in the Sydney spring.
Santa Ana Lane ($14) completed the Group One double of Adelaide’s Goodwood Handicap and the Stradbroke when he burst up along the fence and beat Super Cash ($31) by 1-3/4 lengths in the 1350m race on Saturday.
The favourite, Champagne Cuddles ($5), was third a head back.
No horse had previously completed the Goodwood-Stradbroke double, although Super Elegant won The Goodwood and Doomben 10,000 in 2004.
However, The Goodwood is now proving a good guide to the Stradbroke as Super Cash ran fourth behind Santa Ana Lane this year.
Freedman shared the 2016 Doomben Cup with his brother Lee when Our Ivanhowe won and he has had a previous success on his own in a Brisbane Group One when Mawingo won the 2012 Doomben Cup.
He said he had taken an aggressive but sensible attitude to winning Group One races.
“I suppose to put it in perspective you could say I have won six Group Ones this season with just two horses,” Freedman said.
“But I have been ruthless about who is started in a Group One and I have had 17 runners in them this season.”
Freedman said he had always thought Santa Ana Lane was a Group one horse.
“But he wasn’t living up to that. He had a trip away to win the Wagga Town Plate last year and that was the turning point.”
Santa Ana Lane raced a lot closer than many thought would be possible and jockey Ben Melham was able to be in striking distance on the turn.
“I don’t think they went all that fast early and it played into our hands,’ Freedman said.
“Santa Ana Lane will have a short spell up here and then we will look at the spring.”
Melham said he had a conservative run from his good alley and he was able to follow the horse I considered hardest to beat.
Jamie Kah was thrilled with the run of Super Cash, who she said had run well.
Corey Brown, who rode Champagne Cuddles, said if he had stayed on the fence he would have run a clear second.
“I don’t think I would have beaten the winner. I was looking for better ground in the straight but she couldn’t get traction,” Brown said.