Veteran 10-year-old Ihtsahymn entered the...
Santa Ana Lane is now a five-time Group 1 winner after claiming the $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
In what was arguably one of the best sprint fields in recent years, Anthony Freedman’s speedy six-year-old found himself in the customary three-wide position on the final bend to storm over the top of the leaders and win by three lengths.
“I knew he was really good. I was worried about the track but I knew that the horse was as good as I have had him and when he is like that he can do that so it’s exciting going forward” Freedman said after the race.
Things looked a little doubtful at the final furlong with a wall of horses stretching out to hit the line strongly. As we’ve seen time and time again, Santa Ana Lane’s dazzling turn of foot proved too much in the end, as the only horse to claim the Goodwood and Stradbroke Handicap double raced away comfortably.
After heading up to Queensland last year, Freedman now has his sights set on Hong Kong and Europe having now won over $5 million in prize-money on Australian soil.
“We will obviously give Hong Kong serious thought and if things are still good we will head on to Europe. He’s clearly gone to a huge level now. I’ve sort of worked him out. I know how to train him and that is the key with horses, the trainer works out how to train them and you get the best out of them” Freedman went on to say.
The win also earned Mark Zahra his first ever TJ Smith win. The winning jockey enjoyed a gun ride swooping in late, but credits the stable for keeping Santa Ana Lane fresh and rested between starts.
“I think he would have won like that no matter what. He is just flying. Anthony and Sam and the team have him airborne” Zahra said.
“It was an amazing victory. He was a bit cranky in the gates. I was a bit slow away but I got him on the back of Champagne Cuddles and just down the side I gave him a click to track up and just had to wait and wait and I got around the bend. I had them covered 300m out.”
As for the rest of the field, Osborne Bulls finished second for the third time in a row, while Sunlight ran on strongly on the soft track to finish third.
Redzel, who entered the race at $10.00 odds, ran sixth in another disappointing performance.
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