The Everest favourite Santa Ana Lane has done everything asked of him in a Cranbourne barrier trial on heavy ground as he builds towards his spring return in the Group Two Shorts in Sydney.
Despite the wet track, trainer Anthony Freedman chose to trial Santa Ana Lane over 800m on Monday rather than wait to run him in a Sydney trial next week in the lead-up to The Shorts (1100m) first-up at Randwick on September 21.
Santa Ana Lane was held together by jockey Mark Zahra in Monday’s hit-out but the star sprinter cruised home to finish third in the heat won by Evil Cry.
“He just kept him on the bit because the track was pretty heavy but Mark was really happy with his action and we’re really happy with where he is at,” assistant trainer Sam Freedman said.
“He has had a nice blow today so he will have another couple of good gallops before heading up to Sydney for The Shorts.
“So far everything is going smoothly.
“It wasn’t as heavy today as it was when he trialled there two weeks ago. We elected to trial him today and it just meant we can keep him down here a little bit longer instead of sending him up to Sydney to trial.
“It just worked a little bit better because once he gets up to Sydney he will probably stay up there between The Shorts and The Everest.”
Santa Ana Lane is scheduled to travel to Sydney a few days before The Shorts, with the $14 million The Everest (1200m) his main target on October 19 at Randwick.
The multiple Group One winner will also have a barrier trial in between The Shorts and The Everest to keep him ticking over.
A dominant winner of the Group One TJ Smith Stakes over the Randwick 1200m in April, Santa Ana Lane is the early $5 favourite for The Everest.
“Hopefully we’ll just have him cherry ripe second-up but he will be ready to run a good race first-up as well,” Freedman said.