Santa delivers Straddie success

Jockey Ben Melham and Santa Ana Lane take out Queensland’s premier race. Picture: AAP
Jockey Ben Melham and Santa Ana Lane take out Queensland’s premier race. Picture: AAP

SANTA Ana Lane started the season off a most-recent win in the Wagga Town Plate; he will close it out as a three-time Group 1 winner and $2 million earner after dominating Saturday's Stradbroke.

For a long time, Santa Ana Lane looked like being an unfulfilled talent, but perhaps that Wagga win switched him on, because he's living up to the promise he showed early.

Not that punters have caught on yet. He won the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at $26 in the spring, the Goodwood at the same price in Adelaide and was a $14 pop on Saturday.

He is the first horse to complete the Goodwood-Stradbroke double, with Goodwood fourth placegetter Super Cash running second on Saturday.

Two years ago the Goodwood quinella (Black Heart Bart-Under The Louvre) ran 1-2 in the Stradbroke in reverse order.

"We thought he had Group 1 ability. He wasn't doing it," trainer Anthony Freedman said.

"Just there (Wagga) he had a bit of a confidence builder.

It caps a memorable season for Freedman, who also had the filly Shoals win three Group 1s this term.

His brother Lee won the 1996 Stradbroke - the first at $1 million - with Danasinga.

"It's a big thrill. It's always been a great race. We've won it before as a team and now to win it on my own, it's a special thing," Freedman said.

"I'm very picky about whether I run horses in Group 1s. I don't like to run them on a whim. I try to be fairly ruthless on whether I run them not (but) to be honest, it's been two horses that have won six Group 1s.

Connections of Santa Ana Lane celebrate after his win. Picture: AAP
Connections of Santa Ana Lane celebrate after his win. Picture: AAP

"They are both great horses and they've had great seasons.

"He will have a rest now and we will set him for some races in the spring."

Freedman said the doors are open for any slot holders who are interested in securing Santa Ana Lane as an Everest contender.

"We're there if someone wants to talk to us. He's from an Inglis Sale so whether Inglis' would look at him now as a possibility? He said.

Jockey Ben Melham kisses the trophy after his winning performance in the Stradbroke Handicap. Picture: AAP
Jockey Ben Melham kisses the trophy after his winning performance in the Stradbroke Handicap. Picture: AAP

"He will have a short break up here after today and if it is Everest, we will go that way."

As Anthony fronted the cameras after the win, his son Sam stood quietly in the background, happy to see a frustrating few weeks end on the right note.

Sam has looked after the winter team at Aquis Farm and up until Saturday, the move to attack the carnival in numbers hadn't panned out as hoped.

Jockey Ben Melham and Santa Ana Lane. Picture: AAP
Jockey Ben Melham and Santa Ana Lane. Picture: AAP

"It's been frustrating, but it's come good at the right time," Sam said.

"We targeted it. The horses have run well but they just haven't been good enough to win.

"But this is a class horse. He's been up here just over two weeks.

"He's always shown that sort of ability and it's nice to see it come to fruition consistently."

 

Jockey James McDonald and Invincibella motor home to take out the Dane Ripper Stakes. Picture: AAP
Jockey James McDonald and Invincibella motor home to take out the Dane Ripper Stakes. Picture: AAP

Meanwhile, Invincibella finally cracked it for a valuable Group 2 success in the Dane Ripper Stakes.

Already a $1 million earner, Invincibella had won the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares in January, but her pedigree page was still missing the all-important upper case bold black type.

It finally arrived on Saturday and trainer Chris Waller is now eyeing off a potential Group 1 payday in the Tatt's Tiara in a fortnight.

"After she won at the Gold Coast, we decided to properly set her for the Tiara," Waller said. "I'm a firm believer the Tiara is race you need timing for and that's what we've done with this mare.



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