Santa Ana Lane has made it back to back Group 1 wins when taking out the 2018 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Last seen when claiming the Group 1 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville in May, Santa Ana Lane stepped out at double figure odds on a heavy track on Saturday with Ben Melham remaining on board.
Settling around midfield for much of the race along the rail, Melham was able to continue his run along the inside in the straight, hitting the lead at the 150m before running away to win comfortably from Super Cash in second, just under two lengths away and the favourite Champagne Cuddles third.
Running to a new career peak Timeform figure of 120 when winning The Goodwood, the Anthony Freedman-trained runner was able to improve again off that effort to return a Timeform figure of 124.
Now with three Group 1 victories under his best, the five-year-old gelding has won seven of his 27 starts, amassing over $2 million in prizemoney.
Santa Ana Lane measures up very well to recent winners of the race, running five pounds above 2017 winner Impending and is the highest rated winner of the race since Black Piranha in 2010 who also ran to 124.
Interestingly no horse had won carrying that sort of weight since Black Piranha who also carried the 55.5kg to victory.
Of the beaten runner, Super Cash in second who also came out of the Goodwood when fourth ran to 110 with the favourite Champagne Cuddles in third running to a Timeform figure of 109, four pounds below her effort in the Kingsford-Smith Cup the previous start.
Connections will be now hoping for a start in the $13 million Everest in the Spring, proven over the 1200m in races like the Goodwood.
Santa Ana Lane, picture Stevehart.com.au
The following race saw boom two-year-old colt The Autumn Sun make it three wins from as many starts when taking out the Group 1 J.J Atkins (1600m).
Caught three wide when settling in the second half of the field, The Autumn Sun ridden by Kerrin McEvoy was able to come wide on the turn and make good ground in the straight to edge out stablemate Zousain in second with Fundamentalist third.
The Chris Waller-trained runner returned a new career peak Timeform figure of 113+, five pounds above his previous win over 1400m at Randwick.
The son of Redoute’s Choice measures up pretty well to recent winners, seven pounds above 2017 winner Capital Gain and just two pounds below 2016 winner Sacred Elixir who ran to 115p.
With this only his third career outing, you would expect The Autumn Sun to make significant improvement in the spring with the likes of the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas a target for the rising three-year-old.
A former Chris Waller-trained runner Press Statement claimed the JJ Atkins-Caulfield Guineas double in 2015, running to a Timeform figure of 114p when winning the Atkins.
Second placegetter Zousain who ran to a new career peak Timeform figure of 112 is likely to remain over the shorter trips and target a race like the Group 1 Golden Rose.
Fundamentalist who was good in third and has shown plenty in her six starts to date also ran to a new peak rating of 104 and could also be one to watch going into the spring.
The final feature race on the card saw a very close finish with Dark Dream edging out Heavenly Thought by a head after both runners settled on the speed, Youngstar running from last to finish three lengths away in third.
Dark Dream who is yet to miss the placings from 10 career starts, winning four of them, ran to a new career peak Timeform figure of 114, two pounds above his win in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m).
Dark Dream ran four pounds below 2017 winner Ruthven and one pound above 2016 winner Eagle Way.
Heavenly Thought followed up his two wins with yet another strong showing and ran to new career peak rating of 113, five pounds above his win in the Group 3 Gran Prix the start prior.
Youngstar who had won her four starts prior including the Queensland Oaks was the only filly in the race and made very good ground in the straight, returning a Timeform figure of 104, three pounds below her win in the Oaks.