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Santa gifts Melham third Goodwood

Ben Melham enhanced his brilliant record at Morphettville on Saturday when he claimed his third Darley Goodwood (1200m) crown courtesy of an inspired ride aboard talented gelding Santa Ana Lane.

The Anthony Freedman-trained five-year-old spotted several of his key rivals a big start at the top of the straight but, when Melham elected to pinch inside runs over the final 400m, he made up considerable ground to edge out 2017 runner-up Missrock by a length, with a further neck to three-year-old filly I'll Have A Bit.

Melham, who won the Goodwood with Platelet in 2013 and Smokin' Joey in 2014, said he was always confident the son of Lope De Vega would be strong in the finish.

The 30-year-old jockey has now won 14 Group 1 races in his career, including six in South Australia, while Santa Ana Lane - a winner of the Rupert Clark Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in October - joined stablemate Shoals as a multiple Group 1 winner this season.

"It's my third Goodwood, I've had good luck in the race and I enjoy coming here," Melham said.

"The horse put the writing on the wall the other day (D.C. McKay Stakes) where he ran really well after being held up until late.

"If he came here today and produced the same turn of foot he was always going to be competitive.

"But they just burned him out of the barrier, he was out the back and he didn't go early so I just had to bide my time.

"I was going to come wide but it was going to be a hassle to do so and I would've been covering a lot of ground so when it opened up on the inside I was more than happy to switch back there.

"He let go with a good turn of foot and he was too good."

Damien Oliver said defending champion Vega Magic, who was four lengths adrift of the winner in eighth place, failed to handle the Soft 6 conditions while local star Viddora failed to produce her customary turn of speed from the second half of the field and finished 13th.
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