By Brad Gray
The world’s best sprinter Santa Ana Lane will run in the world’s richest race on turf, The TAB Everest.
It was just a matter of which slot holder Santa Ana Lane would be running for in 2019, with his placed all but assured after he demolished his rivals in the TJ Smith Stakes on Day 1 of The Championships over the Sydney autumn carnival.
TAB beat the nine remaining slot holders still without a horse to the punch locking in the Anthony Freedman-trained star for October’s $14 million race at Royal Randwick.
Santa Ana Lane joins Pierata, for Aquis, and Classique Legend, for Bon Ho and Carmel Size, as the three confirmed contenders.
The six-year-old ran sixth behind Redzel in last year’s edition of The TAB Everest, with the wet track to blame, so there’s unfinished business afoot for the gelding.
“We’re here for redemption, and hopefully he can put his best foot forward,” said assistant trainer Sam Freedman.
Since last year’s Everest, Santa Ana Lane has added two more Group Ones to his CV, winning not only the TJ Smith Stakes but also the VRC Classic, taking his tally to five. He was then given his chance to shine on the international stage in the Chairman’s Sprint in Hong Kong but he wasn’t suited by the slow tempo, running a very credible fourth.
Santa Ana Lane’s connections have elected to skip Royal Ascot in the UK in favour of another tilt at The TAB Everest.
“He has come back (from Hong Kong) in really good order,” said Freedman, “He had a couple of weeks in the paddock to get over the trip and we’ll leave him alone for a couple more weeks, then he’ll come back into the stable.”
“It was all new to us last year but having been there before it’s something we can (focus on) now we’ve got the slot.
“It’s a big thrill to team up with TAB who have been such a good supporter of the race.”
Tabcorp Managing Director Wagering and Media, Adam Rytenskild added, “We are very excited to once again be part of the world’s richest turf race and even more delighted to have secured the race favourite.”
“The TAB Everest has been a fantastic concept to be involved in and we are hoping to come away victorious in 2019 with Santa Ana Lane. We look forward to sharing plans on how we will take TAB punters and racing fans along for The Everest ride over the coming months leading up to the big race.”
Santa Ana Lane is the $6 Fixed Odds favourite with TAB for the feature race to be run on October 19 at Royal Randwick, in front of Osborne Bulls at $7, Pierata at $8 and Classique Legend at $9.
— TAB (@tabcomau) May 17, 2019