Santa Ana Lane has already claimed a Group One win in Adelaide this campaign but the trip to Queensland for the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap is by no means an afterthought.
The Anthony Freedman-trained gelding will be out to continue his successful season on Saturday when he aims to add Brisbane’s signature race to his Group One wins this season in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in Melbourne in the spring and The Goodwood in Adelaide.
Santa Ana Lane won The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville last start on May 19, the third start of his preparation.
“The first target was The Goodwood but we always left a little bit in the tank if he ran well there to go up to the Stradbroke,” Freedman’s racing manager Brad Taylor said.
“We thought he’d get in well at the weights which he does with 55.5kg. He drops 3kg so he gets in beautifully at the weights.
“It’s definitely not an afterthought.”
Taylor said Santa Ana Lane travelled north a week after his last-start win and had had plenty of time to settle in well.
“He went into the Gold Coast on Tuesday morning and had a gallop and we’re really pleased with him. He’s spot-on for Saturday,” he said.
Santa Ana Lane, to be ridden again by Ben Melham, came up with barrier three in the capacity field at Wednesday’s barrier draw for the 1350m-race at Doomben.
“He might be able to position up a little bit closer from there, rather than being well back last,” Taylor said.
“The first reaction is it’s pretty good.”
Santa Ana Lane is at $15 in Stradbroke betting and could become the only horse this season to win at Group One level three separate states.
He would also join his stablemate Shoals, Trapeze Artist and Happy Clapper as a three-time Group One winner in Australia this season, while champion Winx won six Group Ones during 2017/18.
“I think he’s a definite chance,” Taylor said.
“You look at it and compare it to the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in the spring and it’s probably a similar field.
“With a bit of luck in running he’s going to certainly be a chance and hopefully he can become a three-time Group One winner this season.”