Santa Ana Lane has taken another step towards defending his TJ Smith title with a third-placed finish in a barrier trial at Werribee.
The Anthony Freedman-trained sprinter won last year’s TJ Smith and his autumn campaign has been geared towards that race again.
He is expected to return in the Group Two Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 7.
Freedman’s son and assistant-trainer, Sam Freedman, said Santa Ana Lane was likely to have another trial in Sydney ahead of the Challenge.
“Santa was good this morning,” Freedman said.
“He just blew out a bit late, so he’ll need another jump-out which might be at Rosehill next Tuesday and then he might resume in the Challenge Stakes on Newmarket day.
“That’s only over 1000 metres, so he probably can’t win it, but he’s right where we want him at the moment.
“The TJ is his aim again, so he’s still got a long way to go.”
The Freedman team also produced the Lloyd and Nick Williams-owned Homesman at the trials.
Homesman may resume in the Group One Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on February 29.
Freedman said the former Liam Howley-trained gelding was excellent, winning his 1100m-trial by just over a length.
“He had the blinkers on and he was super,” Freedman said.
“We haven’t had him very long but he was lazy without the blinkers in his trial at Balnarring, but today he was a lot more switched on.”
“He’s been really effective between a mile and 2000 metres, so there are plenty of options up there for him,” Freedman said.
“We’ll take him one run at a time and see how he comes through them.
“They have given us a really good background on the horse and we feel like we’ve got a good grip on how to train him.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au