Sam Freedman says the stables decision to target the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday will be justified when Santa Ana Lane aims for a feature Group 1 double.
After a brilliant finish to win the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 1, the Freedman camp elected to freshen the five-year-old and target Perth’s premier sprint.
“He is spot on for this and it always was the plan to miss some of the Melbourne races in the spring,” Freedman said.
“He has been pretty much up for a while and it gave us the opportunity to give his feet a bit of a break.
“He went to the water walker for a couple of weeks, but has got back into his work and is very fresh at the moment.”
Off a hot early tempo, Santa Ana Lane displayed a strong turn of foot to run over the stable of his stable mate Mr Sneaky in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
Freedman, stable foreman for his father, Anthony, said he is hoping for a repeat occurrence in the Winterbottom with genuine on pace speed.
Santa Ana Lane, who has won five races from 22 starts and just over half a million dollars in stake earnings, will go back from barrier 11.
“I would say he will probably be worse than midfield with cover,” Freedman says.
“If they can run along like they did last Saturday he should put himself right in the finish.”
Freedman says favourite State Solicitor has been impressive, but he is confident Santa Ana Lane has the profile and form to upset the local star.
“He has been impressive and has an incredible winning record,” Freedman said.
“He is the horse to beat but we have form around some serious Group 1 horses in Melbourne.
“If we can get him off his game then we will be right there.”
In form jockey Dean Yendall retains the ride on Santa Ana Lane.
“He won on him last start and I think his last three rides for us have been two Group 1 winners,” Freedman said.
“He knows the horse well and was happy to come over and ride him.”