Shifting Lane – From Randwick To Hong Kong

Santa Ana Lane wins the Group One TJ Smith Stakes

Santa Ana Lane wins the Group One TJ Smith Stakes (Lisa Grimm)


Hong Kong’s sprinting jewel – the Chairman’s Sprint Prize – has been won the last three years in succession by Australian-breds: in unforgettable fashion by Chautauqua in 2016, then Lucky Bubbles and, last year, Ivictory.

Are they about to make room on the honour roll for Santa Ana Lane?

It certainly appears that Santa Ana Lane’s connections are about to give it a red hot go following the emphatic victory of their 6YO flyer in Saturday’s Group One Aquis Farm TJ Smith Stakes over 1200m at Royal Randwick.

Sitting near last until well into the straight, Santa Ana Lane unleashed a powerful finish to overhaul favourite, Osborne Bulls, and a last start Newmarket winner, Sunlight. And he didn’t ‘just’ win either: three and a half lengths was the official margin.

With victories in the Rupert Clarke, Goodwood, Stradbroke and VRC Classic – all at Group One level – Santa Ana Lane is widely considered Australia’s best sprinter and you’d be hard pressed to find a dissenting view at Randwick on Saturday. From his 10 wins and six placings, the bank has grown to $5,069,711 following the TJ.

Consider, too, Saturday’s field: the 11-strong lineup contained the winners of over 100 races and 18 Group Ones.

Trained by Anthony Freedman, Santa Ana Lane is raced by ‘William Street’, a syndicate of around 40 owners which is managed by Michael Ramsden and Michael Clemenger.

It’s one mighty horse to have on your resume, but Santa Ana Lane is hardly William Street’s first time on the merry-go-round. Initially created some 40 years ago by Ramsden’s late father, Andrew (formerly chairman of Victoria Racing Club and Racing Victoria) and racing such luminaries as Gurners Lane (Caulfield and Melbourne Cups) and Paris Lane (Caulfield Cup), the William Street crew have cornered the ‘Lane’ market.

“That was certainly an impressive win in the TJ … a big day,” a delighted, Michael Ramsden, enthused.

Big day indeed as Ramsden is also a part-owner of Group One The Star Doncaster Mile winner Brutal!

“Plans for racehorses are always subject to change, but at this stage, Santa Ana Lane will definitely head to Hong Kong for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize on 28 April and, all things being equal, another crack at the Everest in October.

“He has always been a brilliant performer, winning his first two starts and capturing a Group race (Zeditave) at his fourth outing,” Ramsden explains. “But since May last year he’s won three Group Ones and a Group Two (Premiere). He never handled the heavy track in the Everest although I thought his fifth, first up, behind Sunlight and Osborne Bulls in the Newmarket was a pretty good effort.”

Bred by Dyson Hore-Lacy and sold by Rosemont Stud for $80,000 at the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, Santa Ana Lane was knocked down to leading agent, Justin Bahen, on behalf of William Street.

“We (William Street) usually race one or two at a time and also have an unraced Starspangledbanner 2YO with Anthony (Freedman) called Trump Lane, who is now back in work and could race in the next four to six weeks,” Ramsden reveals. “We were planning on buying another one in Melbourne this year but a couple that we liked were withdrawn, so Justin is having a good look around the Inglis complex at the Easter catalogue and we might pick up one this week.”

With seven yearlings at Inglis’s Riverside stables, we’re confident Rosemont Stud would be happy to accommodate!

Santa Ana Lane is one of 52 stakes winners for Shamardal stallion, Lope de Vega, who stood four seasons in Australia from 2011 to 2014, covering 467 mares.

Santa Ana Lane hails from his first Aussie crop which also yielded dual Group One winner, Vega Magic – who finished 10th in the TJ Smith – while the stallion reaped a black type double on Saturday when 4YO mare, Mizlecki won the Listed Old Comrade Stakes in Perth.

HOOFNOTE: Santa Ana Lane is out of the well-related Fastnet Rock mare, Fast Fleet, who was purchased – in foal to Frosted – by Aquis Farm for $200,000 at the 2018 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

After duly producing her Frosted filly, Fast Fleet was covered last spring by Zoustar, Widden Stud’s boom stallion who is also the sire of Sunlight … part-owned by Aquis Farm and third in the TJ Smith.

Hardly disappointed with the end result, Aquis Farm’s CEO, Shane McGrath, was quick to tweet: “Fast Fleet safely in foal to Zoustar … who is going to tell our darling Sunlight it was still a winning day?”

The Power of Passion