Rags to riches run for Santa

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - GLENN McFARLANE

LATE bloomer Santa Ana Lane went from be­ing one of the most un­der­rated sprint­ers in the coun­try to po­ten­tially one of the best in the world in less than 70 sec­onds at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day.

Not bad for a horse whose trainer, Anthony Freed­man, has never re­ally con­sid­ered him a pure speed horse.

Hav­ing strug­gled to get around the “skat­ing rink” of The Ever­est af­ter the Syd­ney del­uge a month ago, Santa Ana Lane took hold of the $1 mil­lion VRC Sprint Clas­sic with a devastating fin­ish­ing burst, leav­ing Redzel, a host of lo­cal con­tenders and five in­ter­na­tional raiders in his wake.

It was the horse’s fourth Group 1 suc­cess — third this year — pro­vid­ing what Freed­man called “a nice con­so­la­tion” for the trip to Syd­ney.

“It might have been the one that got away,” Freed­man said of The Ever­est. “You never know we might be back there next year.

“I thought he was spot on for Syd­ney. He just didn’t get his chance there. This was not an af­ter­thought, but we were al­ways a bit du­bi­ous about him up the straight be­cause he’d had a cou­ple of fail­ures.”

Santa Ana Lane ($10) nailed In Her Time ($12) in the shad­ows of the post af­ter launch­ing late, with Jun­gle Cat ($26) and Pier­ata ($7) dead­heat­ing for third.

Redzel, who started $2.90 favourite, couldn’t add back-to­back VRC Sprints to his con­sec­u­tive Ever­est wins, fin­ish­ing in fifth place.

Asked where Santa Lane Ana fit­ted within the great sprint­ers the sta­ble had trained, Freed­man said: “It’s dif­fi­cult to say, be­cause he has come [good] late in his ca­reer.”

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