By Glenn Davis
A perfect barrier has boosted Goodwood Handicap winner Santa Ana Lane’s bid for a history-making win in the Group 1 UBET Stradbroke Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.
Santa Ana Lane drew barrier three in the 16-horse field but despite the favourable gate is a $17 chance in latest UBET markets in his bid for back-to-back Group 1 victories.
Impending, who is defending last year’s Stradbroke victory, drew barrier nine while Champagne Cuddles drew the rails.
The barrier draw had little affect on markets with Champagne Cuddles retaining favouritism at $4.60 with Impending on the second line at $5.
Local sprinters Crack Me Up and Most Important drew well in barrier five and two respectively while Matt Dunn’s Care To Think drew poorly again in gate in 16.
Santa Ana Lane is aiming to become the first horse to claim the Goodwood-Stradbroke Handicap double.
Only five horses in the past 30 years have contested the double with Black Heart Bart the only placegetter in 2016.
Santa Ana Lane was sent to Adelaide last month, finishing an unlucky third in the Group 3 Mackay Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville on May 5 before claiming his second win at the highest level in the Goodwood Handicap (1200m) two weeks later.
The Victorian five-year-old recorded his biggest win in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield in October.
Santa Ana Lane’s Goodwood victory was the fifth Group One success for trainer Anthony Freedman for the season.
Despite the long haul to Brisbane, the Freedman stable is confident Santa Ana Lane has taken no harm after working strongly on the course proper at the Gold Coast on Tuesday.
“He’s pretty fit and he didn’t have to do anything major when he galloped over 1000 metres on the course proper on Tuesday,” said stable foreman Sam Freedman.
The late inclusion of The Monstar, barrier eight, in the Stradbroke will ensure a fast tempo, easing some of Freedman’s concerns.
“Now that The Monstar is in, I’m sure there’ll be enough pace. They don’t hang around in Group 1’s,” Freedman said.
Freedman said backing-up in successive Group 1’s won’t affect Santa Ana Lane following his tough Goodwood win.
“He was wound up for the Goodwood but it was always in our plans to come here so we left something in the tank,” he said.
“If the race is run truly he’ll make his presence felt.”
Rain has been forecast ahead of the Stradbroke but the Freedman’s are hoping the track won’t be too affected.
“He’s only run on a heavy track once and that was in Sydney when he didn’t fire,” he said.
“A soft track will suit and hopefully he can notch up another Group 1.
“We thought he was a certainty beaten in the Mackay Stakes in Adelaide and he should have won the Goodwood last year.”
The Freedman’s are hopeful another win at elite level will boost their hopes of Santa Ana Lane gaining a slot in The Everest at Randwick in the spring.
Racing Queensland webnews June 6