Santa’s coming to Flemington

16 December 2022 Written by Patrick Bartley

Eight-time Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane gave the Ramsden family many reasons to celebrate in his illustrious career. Don’t miss meeting this beautiful living legend on Christmas Race Day when he visits Flemington.

The late Andrew Ramsden, a former chairman of the VRC, gathered together a group of friends from the well-known city venue The Australian Club in the late 1970s to form what turned out to be a highly successful investment.

All named after streets that surrounded the club, the horses that they purchased included Melbourne Cup winner Gurners Lane, and outstanding stayer Paris Lane.

It seemed that the Ramsden family were content to race Melbourne Cup winners and Caulfield Cup winners. However, one horse emerged that debunked the staying theory. 

Ramsden’s son Michael, and current VRC vice-chairman, explained that Santa Ana Lane proved to be a very different racehorse than all of the stayers that had carried the Ramsden colours in the past.

“Normally we look for stayers, but have broadened it to good types.

“He (Santa Ana Lane) was supposed to be a stayer and his breeding suggested around 2000 metres would be his ideal distance.

“We tried him over a mile but I guess he didn’t read his breeding page,” Ramsden said.

However, Santa Ana Lane did something right, and his remarkable career managed to collect $8,236,336 in prize winnings.

Now Ramsden is very glad that he bought the Lope De Vega colt who is out of a good race mare First Fleet. It also explains the catchy name.

“Lope De Vega was a Spanish poet who was in the Spanish Armada and Santa Ana was the name of one of their boats.

“We always have Lane in the name, that’s been part and parcel of our syndicates,” he said.

Co-trainer Sam Freedman said that Santa Ana Lane was a joy for he and his father to train and believes his record underlines the versatility that Santa Ana Lane possessed.

The sprinter won Group 1 races in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

Freedman believes that Santa Ana Lane’s success, who raced into prominence by winning the Wagga Town Plate in 2018, was because of the horse’s slow start to racing.

“I don‘t think a lot of people rated him highly at first because he was a horse that didn’t race in his two- and three-year-old days very much because of nagging, niggling problems that he just struggled to overcome.

“But when he did, he got stronger and better. His first real glimpse of true ability probably surfaced at Wagga in the Town Plate which is one of the toughest sprint races in country New South Wales.

“But once he hit his straps, he was able to win Group 1 races across the nation,” Freedman said.

After four years of brilliant racing, Santa Ana Lane is now retired and relaxing and residing at Living Legends where he brings much joy to visitors. He will be on course at Flemington Christmas Race Day, 17 December, so come and meet him for a pat.