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Newmarket option for Santa Ana Lane return

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Santa Ana Lane could begin his campaign in the Newmarket Handicap ahead of an overseas trip.

The Newmarket Handicap looms as a launching pad for multiple Group One winner Santa Ana Lane’s latest campaign which could feature international targets.

The Anthony Freedman-trained Santa Ana Lane capped his spring preparation last year with victory in the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington, his fourth Group One success.

“He’s coming up really well,” Freedman’s son and assistant trainer, Sam Freedman, said.

“He’s going as well as he ever has so hopefully he’s in for a similar prep to last time.

“He’s having another jump-out on Wednesday at Balnarring with the potential of running in the Newmarket maybe as a good first-up point.

“He probably can’t win it first-up but he’s going really well.”

Connections opted to bypass next month’s Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai with Santa Ana Lane infavour of the $2.5 million Group One TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 6 before possible overseas missions.

“He’ll head towards the TJ Smith and then look at possibly Hong Kong and Royal Ascot if he’s going well,” Freedman said.

“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge.”

Two-year-old filly Lyre became the stable’s latest Group One winner when she took out Saturday’s Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield.

Four-year-old mare Shoals, a multiple Group One winner, had been scheduled to begin her campaign in the Oakleigh Plate on the same program but was scratched because of a less than satisfactory blood picture.

Freedman said Shoals had galloped on Saturday morning.

“She’s back to pretty well 100 per cent,” he said.

“We’ve got no set plan for her yet. We’ll just creep along. We were going to trial her on Wednesday but we might give her an extra few days and look at jumping her out somewhere else, but she’s pretty well back to normal.

“It wasn’t a case of her being really unwell, it was just maybe catching something before it got worse.”

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