Lee Freedman can head to Sydney confident he has a horse of quality after the first-up win of Santa Ana Lane at Caulfield.
Defying a betting drift, Santa Ana Lane took out the Group Three Zeditave Stakes on Saturday with Freedman now eyeing The Championships at Randwick.
Ridden by Ben Melham, Santa Ana Lane eased from $6.50 to $10 before scoring a short half-head win from Brockhoff ($8.50) with the $3.20 favourite Bassett a nose away third.
“I love the horse but the market shared my view of where he was at today because I thought he was a little bit underdone being first-up for five months,” Freedman said.
“He sweated up in the yard but he overcame that and he could be a very good horse.”
Freedman said either the Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) or the South Pacific Classic (1400m) on April 9 were Sydney target races for Santa Ana Lane.
“After that then maybe he go can to Brisbane for the Queensland Guineas,” Freedman said.
“That was pretty exciting for a 67-rater to do that today.”
Not a lot went right for runner-up Brockhoff who slipped over in the tie-up stalls and underwent a veterinary inspection before the race.
And jockey Damien Oliver said the whip rules introduced last December worked against him.
“The stupid whip rules didn’t help him as he needed a bit more aggression around the turn,” Oliver said.