Darley Sprint Classic Tips - Santa suited by small field

Jockey Mark Zahra rides Santa Ana Lane to victory in the VRC Sprint Classic (PA Images)

Only nine sprinters will line up for Saturday's Group 1 Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington, and that should suit defending winner Santa Ana Lane.

I’m willing to take on Loving Gabby who became the first filly in history to win the Manikato Stakes, but she got all the favours thanks to a brilliant tactical ride by Craig Williams.

Loving Gabby only just defeated Vital Silver who did it tougher and was a couple of lengths from Santa Ana Lane who was first-up in the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington and carrying more weight. 

Santa Ana Lane then finished runner-up in The Everest (1200m) at Randwick in track record time where he ran a scintillating 10.96 for his final 200m.

That was the first time he’s ever broken 11 seconds for his final 200m, and they didn’t go slow early, so there’s no reason to suggest he’s not going as good as ever. 



Nature Strip was brave finishing 4th in The Everest and he’s unbeaten in three runs at Flemington, but Santa Ana Lane has a far superior finishing burst and won’t have to spot him such a big start with the small field at Flemington. 

Alizee had every chance in The Everest and I can’t see her turning the tables on that pair, and nothing else has the form or figures to get near Santa Ana Lane and Nature Strip. 

In his three most recent runs at Flemington over 1200m, Santa Ana Lane has gone 15.3, 14.5 and 11.6 lengths above benchmark (BM) and in Nature Strip’s wins at the track, he has gone 12.7, 19.1 and 7.5 lengths above BM. 

Clearly his best of 19.1 lengths above BM is the strongest figure, but that was over 1100m, and his figures over 1200m at the track are lower (12.7). 

With Nature Strip setting a genuine pace, Santa Ana Lane should get the tempo he needs to storm home and score with fitness and figures on his side. 


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Darley Sprint Classic Tips - Santa suited by small field

Only nine sprinters will line up for Saturday's Group 1 Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington, and that should suit defending winner Santa Ana Lane.

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