Santa’s owners sign dotted line for Everest slot
SANTA Ana Lane, the world's highest-rated sprinter, is expected to be locked in as a starter in the $14 million The Everest on Friday.
It is understood slot-holder TAB has negotiated a deal with Santa Ana Lane's owners to contest the world's richest turf race at Royal Randwick this year.
There were at least three slot-holders circling for Santa Ana Lane but the TAB has beaten them to the punch.
However, TAB officials on Thursday night refused to comment except to confirm an Everest announcement will be made just after 1.30pm on Friday.
The Anthony Freedman-trained Santa Ana Lane is favourite at $5.50 with Ladbrokes for The Everest, which is run on October 19.
Santa Ana Lane has been at the top of Everest betting since his outstanding win in the TJ Smith Stakes over the Randwick 1200m course on day one of The Championships last month.
He was then brought undone by a slow early tempo when an unlucky fourth in the Chairman's Sprint Prize in Hong Kong.
But Santa Ana Lane's owners were keen on setting their super sprinter for another Everest assault and decided against sending him to England for the Royal Ascot meeting next month.
Santa Ana Lane, who arrived back in Australia this week, ran in The Everest last year when he was inconvenienced by a wet track and ran sixth to Redzel.
He joins Pierata (slot-holder Aquis) and Classique Legend (owner Bon Ho purchased GPI Racing's slot for this year) as definite Everest starters. This leaves nine slots remaining.