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Jungle drums beating but rain stays away

Mick Bell was on the verge of scratching his cult galloper Jungle Edge from The Goodwood on Wednesday — until he found out there was 4mm of rain on Tuesday night.Bell, who has made an art form of studying weather maps and placing his mudlark accordingly, still wanted a lot more rain for the nine-year-old…

Mick Bell was on the verge of scratching his cult galloper Jungle Edge from The Goodwood on Wednesday — until he found out there was 4mm of rain on Tuesday night.

Bell, who has made an art form of studying weather maps and placing his mudlark accordingly, still wanted a lot more rain for the nine-year-old gelding.

“I’ll leave him in. The weather’s improving,” Bell said on Friday.

“If the track gets to a Good 4, it will need to be closer to a Soft 5 for him to come right into it. If it’s closer to a Good 3, then it will make it tougher for him.

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“I was living in the false hope that the rain forecast for Sunday would come on Saturday. But it’s not coming now until (next) Wednesday.”

At his last start, Jungle Edge won his 19th race (from 79) when he led throughout to salute in the D.C. McKay Stakes at Morphettville over 1200m, a race Despatch won last year before he won The Goodwood.

Jungle Edge was ridden by Georgina Cartwright, who ­retains the ride.

She has ridden him now four times for two wins, a second and a third.

Though Jungle Edge is a $26 chance, Bell says he will use his speed to lead and will take catching.

“He’ll give them a fright. The horse is perfect, he’s in great order,” he said.

Bell has left Jungle Edge in the hands of Morphettville trainer Leah Conlon.

“She has a small team and has been catering to his needs, and Georgina is organising his work,” Bell said.

Jungle Edge has raced 13 times at Group 1 level for three placings.

But Bell pointed out that three starts ago, he finished third in Sydney to Nature Strip and Redzel on a Soft 6 track, which showed he could mix it with the very best.

Bell is again chasing a slot in The Everest with Jungle Edge. He says the Australian Turf Club should use its slot on him.

“It would be more than worthwhile for them,” he said.

“He would be the people’s horse in the race.

“They would get a stack of publicity with a 10-year-old like him running in the race.

“It would also show the race isn’t just for billionaires and big studs. It would show that it’s not a race for elitists.”

Bell is also pushing for a spot at Living Legends when Jungle Edge is retired.

“He’s a great horse. People love him,” Bell said.

“He’s won four Group 3s in four different states.”

michael.manley@news.com.au

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Morphettville played host to a one-in-a-more-than-100-year event last weekend and star sprinter Santa Ana Lane could make it two in two weeks in the Group 1 Goodwood on Saturday.

Russian Camelot’s dominant win in the South Australian Derby was the first time a northern hemisphere-bred three-year-old had won a Derby in Australia. The first one was run in 1855.

Santa Ana Lane will aim to become the first horse since Musket Belle (1911-12) to win two Goodwoods.

Santa Ana Lane has gone on to do “a lot of wonderful things” since his 2018 victory in the 1200m sprint, trainer Anthony Freedman’s racing manager Brad Taylor said.

That includes winning a Stradbroke Handicap and a victory in the TJ Smith Stakes among five Group 1 triumphs that have taken the seven-year-old’s prizemoney to $7.7 million.

Already regarded as one of the best sprinters of his generation, a sixth Group 1 could put Santa Ana Lane in to the all-time greats conversation.

There were no excuses offered for a last-start sixth in the All Aged Stakes at Randwick, but that followed a fast-finishing second to one of the world’s best sprinters, Nature Strip, in the TJ Smith and on a heavy track.

Taylor said they were “thrilled” with the condition of Santa Ana Lane, who has had a “freshen up” since the All Aged followed by a jumpout last Friday at Flemington.

“It was great to win the race back then, and it would be great if we could win another one, he’s getting towards the end of his career now and if we can get another Group 1, make it six, he’s going to be up there among the best sprinters we have had,” he said.

“He’s nice and fit, he’s a very happy horse, he looks great and certainly he’ll make his presence felt. If he can produce his best, he’s going to be awfully hard to beat.”

Santa Ana Lane drifted slightly in better after drawing barrier 10, leaving him at $7 with the TAB, second favourite behind Gytrash ($3.50).

But Taylor said being drawn out was perfect for Santa Ana Lane to be able to wind up, which was when he raced at his best.

“The last time he drew a barrier like this was when he won the TJ (in 2019),” he said. “Every time since then he has drawn inside five. He needs to draw out. It’s a real positive for him. He’ll get back and he can easily get to the outside and wind up.”

Jockey Damien Thornton, who completed two weeks in isolation to ride in South Australia, will ride Santa Ana Lane.

Taylor said Thornton, who won his first Group 1 race two weeks ago, would be encouraged to reach out to fellow hoops Mark Zahra and Ben Melham, who have shared all five of Santa Ana Lane’s Group 1 wins, to give himself the best chance of victory.

“Damien will watch plenty of replays, he’s had plenty of time, we’ll make sure he’s spoken to Mark Zahra and Ben Melham, get as much information off them,” Taylor said. “We sent him over for this. We’ve got full faith in him.”

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