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12/6/2018  Melham keen on Everest start for Santa

Fresh from another Group One win on Santa Ana Lane in the Stradbroke Handicap, jockey Ben Melham is keen for the in-form sprinter to snare a slot in the $13 million Everest.

Santa Ana Lane claimed his third Group One win of the season, all in separate states, when he overpowered his rivals to take out the $1.5 million Stradbroke (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.

The Anthony Freedman-trained gelding had won the Group One Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide at his previous start, with Melham also aboard, while last spring Dean Yendall rode the sprinter to victory in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.

"He was really good on Saturday," Melham said.

"He's really in a good frame of mind at the minute. He's always had the ability but he's just putting it together now.

"He's won two consecutive Group Ones and I'd like to see him in an Everest."

Melham believes the gelding deserves to secure a slot in the race and would be hard to beat.

The Everest will be run for on October 13 having been won by Redzel last year in the inaugural running when it was a $10 million event.

So far four of the 12 slot holders have confirmed their runners for this year's race.

"He deserves a chance to run in a race like that I think," Melham said.

"And not only would he be a chance, he would be a good chance."

Mathew Toogood - AAP


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