Spanish play right look de Vega headlines Spanish play right lope de Vega has inspired many an artist but it will surprise is quite a few to know he has also inspired a racing syndicate.
Young a Vega in listed in the Spanish Navy in 1583. He saw action at the Battle of Ponta Delgada. One of the lead-up ships of that Spanish Armada was named Santa Ana.
Over 500 years later a good looking colt sired by a stalled called Lope Vega (out of a mare called Fast Fleet) was purchased by a Justin Bahen for a racing club called William Street Syndicate.
The creative syndicate members, influenced by the Spanish writers’ colourful life named the colt Santa Ana. And because all the names of all the horses owned by the syndicate carry the suffix ‘Lane’, the colt was christened Santa Ana Lane.
Sprinting prodigy Santa Ana lane is one of the syndicates many success stories. They also owned Gurner's Lane who is best remembered for winning the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups double in 1982.
The club has its origins in a building on Williams Street in Melbourne, started in the late Nineteen Seventies. The club members decided to be eclectic in their choice of horse names, by naming their horse after the narrow lanes around William Street.
Once they exhausted the names of the lanes around William Street, they decided to make ‘Lane’ a suffix or surname for all their horse names. Nowadays their horse names are influenced and precipitated from the pedigree of the horse.
Case in point is another horse they own called Trump Lane. “He is sired by Starspangled banner, so there was the American connection. So we decided to go with a play on the current (US) President’s name,” said Michael Clemenger, Joint Manager of the William Street Syndicate.
Trump Lane is an unraced 3YO who is currently being trained by Anthony Freedman.
“Since the beginning, we’ve had a couple of horses every year. We tend to have a good horse every decade. These days all our horses are identified and purchased by Justin Bahen,” he said.
The 44members of the current group own 55 shares and those in Santa Ana Lane include three people who have never owned a horse before. In total, the group will be represented by about 90 people on the course at Royal Randwick.
The eldest member is 90 and William Street still contains one of the three founders, Robin Clements.
Santa Ana Lane was an A$80,000 buy for Justin Bahen at the 2014 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, from the Rosemont Stud draft.
Initially, he was trained by both Lee and Anthony Freedman. However, eventually, Lee left Australia for the golden shores of Singapore and Anthony continued to train Santa Ana lane himself.
He believed in Santa Ana lane. He was convinced that he could be a Group One-winning horse.
At one point there was some disconnect with the final goal but things got back on track fairly quickly and Santa Ana Lane delivered on his promise of becoming a champion.
They have their own ideas as to why Santa Ana Lane is the best horse in this year’s Everest lineup.
“The horse has now matured. He had some trouble with his feet. We have now learnt the best way to shoe his feet and hence fix the issue with his feet. And he loves to eat, so he can gain weight easily. We now fully manage his food, even when he’s in the paddock. We have learned that he doesn’t need a lot of lead up runs. So, the way we train him is a bit different now,” said the seasoned horseman, Clemenger
Reminiscing about Santa Ana Lane’s last year’s Everest performance, Clemenger’s voice takes a serious and disappointing tone, “Last year it was pouring all week of The Everest. And a few hours before the race itself it started bucketing down. It was so bad that had it been another raceday, they would have cancelled it. There were only a few horses that could have done well in such conditions. Redzel was one of them.”
“After our horse recovered, he came back to Melbourne for the Gr.1 VRC Sprint Classic (AKA Darley Classic held on the VRC Stakes Day), which he won,” said the proud owner fondly.
Plans for the Lope De Vega son are firmly in place.
Then in April this year he convincingly won against the best quality field in The T J Smith Stakes.
The champion will just have two trials in the lead-up to The Everest and one lead up race, the Gr.2 1100m Shorts.
After The Everest, he heads back to Melbourne to reclaim his VRC Sprint Stakes’ title and then to Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Sprint. Eventually, they have to decide between trips to Royal Ascot for the English summer or to start training for The Everest 2020.
“The timeline is very tight. If he goes to (Royal) Ascot, he will have to stay in England, due to the quarantine restrictions. Which would make it difficult for him to get back to his training for next year’s Everest.”
The William Street Syndicate has already won a Melbourne Cup, two Caufield Cups, a Queensland Guineas and a Newcastle Gold Cup.
The Everest Trophy seems to be missing from their trophy case, but only just for the moment. “