Santa Ana Lane ready to put on Everest speed show
SANTA Ana Lane can prove he is the best sprinter in world racing by eclipsing an elite field for the $14 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
A noted back-marker, Santa Ana Lane has a devastating finishing burst but his racing pattern does leave him vulnerable if races are slowly run.
But with the inclusion of brilliant speedsters like Redzel, Nature Strip and Sunlight in the field, there should be plenty of pressure early in The Everest ensuring the race is run at a genuine tempo.
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"This should be a strongly run 1200m and that suits our horse,'' said Sam Freedman, stable spokesman for his father, Anthony, the trainer of Santa Ana Lane.
"When there is good speed in a race, then usually the best horse will win.
"I think we are going to find out who is the best of them all on Saturday.''
Santa Ana Lane is the $4.60 favourite on TAB Fixed Odds to win the third running of The Everest.
The Everest, the world's richest race on turf, has attracted a field of 12 outstanding sprinters.
There are 10 individual Group 1 winners of 22 major races, plus two Group 2 winners in the race. The combined prizemoney earned by The Everest runners is a staggering $42.19 million. The field includes:
#Redzel who can lift his career earnings over $21 million if he can win a third Everest.
#Godolphin has two starters after James Cummings confirmed Schillaci Stakes winner Trekking will join stablemate Alizee in the big race.
#Coolmore also has two Everest hopefuls with Irish sprinter Ten Sovereigns and crack colt Yes Yes Yes.
#Sydney's premier trainer Chris Waller has three starters - Arcadia Queen, Nature Strip and Yes Yes Yes.
#There are four mares in The Everest - Arcadia Queen, Alizee, In Her Time and Sunlight.
Santa Ana Lane is a proven big-race performer with five Group 1 wins including his dominant effort in the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick during The Championships back in April when he defeated many of his Everest rivals by a widening three-and-a-half lengths.
The Freedman-trained gelding has only had the one start this spring, when he shouldered 60kg when closing fast on Sunlight in the Gilgai Stakes.
With fine weather forecast for Sydney through until The Everest, Santa Ana Lane will get the firm racing surface he needs to produce his best form.
"The weather looks good so he will get his chance,'' Sam Freedman said.
"He came through his first-up run in great order and we gave him a bit of pacework at home (Saturday morning) before he was sent to Sydney.
"We will give him a gallop at Randwick (tomorrow) and he will be ready for The Everest.''
The crucial Everest barrier draw will be beamed onto the Sydney Harbour on Monday night with Freedman relaxed about a starting position for Santa Ana Lane.
"We are not overly concerned about the barrier draw,'' Freedman said.
"If he draws wide then he will go back anyway and if he draws in, then he can save ground on the fence. We just hope for some luck in running.''