He is taking on arguably the two fastest sprinters in the country over a distance short of his best but connections of Santa Ana Lane are confident he can get his campaign off to a flying start.
The star sprinter resumes in Saturday’s Group Two Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick against brilliant short-course competitors Nature Strip and Redzel.
Lethal over 1200 metres, Santa Ana Lane finished out of the placings at his only attempt at Saturday’s distance in 2017, although that was before he had established himself as one of Australia’s eminent sprinters.
Brad Taylor, racing manager for trainer Anthony Freedman, revealed Santa Ana Lane had been given one of his most thorough campaign foundations and the stable expected him to race extra well fresh.
“He is probably a little bit more forward than he has been in previous preparations. He’s had a jump-out and two trials. We haven’t done that with him for a long time,” Taylor said.
“With the pace that looks to be in Saturday’s race, he might run slightly better than he has first-up in previous campaigns.
“As long as he is hitting the line strongly we will be happy and we will know he’s on target for the TJ in a month.”
Santa Ana Lane won the TJ Smith last year, his only appearance of the Sydney autumn before a hit-and-run raid in Hong Kong where he was fourth at Group One level.
There will be no overseas campaign this time around and instead the gelding is likely to stay in Sydney to target the other feature sprint, the All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick next month.
“The owners are happy to keep him in Australia so we will go to the All Aged and we might even take him to Brisbane for a Doomben 10,000 or a race like that,” Taylor said.
Taylor confirmed stablemate Super Seth was responding well to treatment for an elevated temperature which prompted his scratching from the Group One Randwick Guineas.
The three-year-old will be given a few easy days to recover before the stable reassess autumn carnival plans with the Group One George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 21 a likely target.
“He will bounce back pretty quickly. It’s only very minor but it’s a frustrating time for it to come,” Taylor said.
“There are plenty of races for him. The George Ryder was always on the radar anyway. He’s nicely in the Doncaster or we could freshen him up for the All Aged or potentially even take him to Queensland.”