Santa Ana Lane's high profile owner Rupert Legh insists the five-time group 1 winner should be almost half his current price and start as a clear favourite for The Everest despite a flood of money for rival Arcadia Queen.
Anthony Freedman's gun sprinter, which will run in Tabcorp's slot in the $14 million sprint, has seized back favouritism from Arcadia Queen, but even that wasn't enough for Legh who says punters are forgetting Santa Ana Lane's TJ Smith Stakes demolition during the autumn carnival.
Santa Ana Lane is clinging to favouritism for The Everest.Credit:AAP
"They're not robots and they need to come back and show they haven't taken any harm from the travel," Legh said.
"We all know it wasn't a race to suit his style, it was slowly run and he needed to make a run. I thought his run was as good as any horse's, but as soon as you give them that bigger start off that tempo it's very, very hard.
"I thought his run at Flemington was as good as any first-up run he's had in his career. He's been beaten half a length off a slow tempo and I thought it was better than any other time [previously].
"His TJ win reminded me a bit about Chautauqua. It would have been pretty near to what Chautauqua has been doing."
Santa Ana Lane's chances were perhaps inadvertently aided by a decision of Legh and fellow connections of Brutal to baulk at interest from slotholder James Harron last week.
The man who chose Redzel to win the inaugural The Everest later teamed up with speed machine Nature Strip, which is expected to set a slick tempo for horses like Santa Ana Lane to benefit from.
"I thought it was probably going to help our chances with our other runner," Legh said. "You know Nature Strip, if he runs as per normal, he knows one way and that is to jump and run. Redzel normally likes to get his own way up front and Sunlight who goes forward.
"It would have been great to see Ball Of Muscle win the [Schillaci Stakes] on Saturday. But it's better having Nature Strip in the race than not having Nature Strip in the race."
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