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From Wagga to the world - Santa's global plans

3 min read

By Bren O'Brien

Having won a Wagga Town Plate 18 months' ago, Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega {Ire}) could embark on a global campaign in 2019 with races in Dubai and at Royal Ascot touted for the now four-time Group 1 winner.

Santa Ana Lane confirmed his status as not only Australia's most underrated sprinter, but also one of our best, with a win in the G1 VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington on Saturday.

Behind him was dual Everest winner Redzel (Snitzel), plus Group 1 winners In Her Time (Time Thief), Jungle Cat (Iffraaj {GB}), Brave Smash (Jpn) (Tosen Phantom {Jpn}), Kementari (Lonhro), Redkirk Warrior (Notnowcato {GB}) and US Navy Flag (USA) (War Front {USA}).

Speaking to RSN on Sunday, trainer Anthony Freedman admits Santa Ana Lane's options at home are limited and a global adventure may await for the 6-year-old.

"He's obviously out of handicaps now, so that restricts you a little bit," he said.

"Unfortunately there's not a lot of weight-for-age sprints up the straight." - Anthony Freedman

"Unfortunately there's not a lot of weight-for-age sprints up the straight. Obviously, the Newmarket is a handicap and the Lightning is weight-for-age, but is too short for him. We'll find races that suit him. Sydney is a possibility for him and maybe an overseas trip, we'll see."

Initially keen to take Santa Ana Lane to Hong Kong, Freedman said the quarantine impasse would mean he would head to the paddock now.

Trainer Anthony Freedman with jockey, Mark Zahra

Dubai, Ascot on the cards

Freedman revealed that Dubai racing officials had been in touch with regards to the Al Quoz Sprint, won this year by Jungle Cat, to be run in March, while the William St syndicate, who own the sprinter, are particularly keen on the G1 Diamond Jubilee S.

"For a lot of the guys who own him, it would be a lifetime thing they'd love to do," he said.

"For a lot of the guys who own him, it would be a lifetime thing they'd love to do." - Anthony Freedman

"Royal Ascot would suit him. It’s a strong, stiff 1200m. He could be ridden quietly in what would likely be a big field."

Santa Ana Lane

Freedman has experience travelling horses to Ascot, with his brother Lee tasting glory in the King's Stand S. with Miss Andretti (Ihtiram {Ire}) in 2007.

"We ran fourth there with a horse called Falkirk (NZ) (Tale Of The Cat {USA}) (in 2005), who was a little unlucky. So he'd definitely measure, up, it just depends what way the team want to go," he said.

Measuring up

The Freedman family have trained some champion sprinters over the years. Miss Andretti won five Group 1s while Schillaci (Salieri {USA}) and Mahogany (Last Tycoon {Ire}) eight apiece.

Freedman said Santa Ana Lane was a very different sprinter to that trio but could still add substantially to his record over the coming 12 months.

"He's a different type of sprinter to Schillaci and Mahogany, they would dominate races from the front and Miss Andretti too, for that matter," he told Sky Sports Radio.

"I think the fact that he has to be ridden the way he is, he is dependant on speed in races and dependant on luck in running. But he's had good luck in a few of his races."

"When things are right for him, and he gets the race run at a good clip. He's got four Group 1s and hopefully there's more to come."