Damian Lane back a winner at Sandown

Jockey Damian Lane did not waste any time getting back in the winner’s enclosure after a recent stint representing Australia overseas.

Lane partnered Esskay to win the Ladbrokes Same Race Multi Handicap (1300m) at Sandown on Wednesday, his second ride back following a trip to Dubai for the World Cup meeting at Meydan on Saturday night, having ridden in Saudi Arabia last month.

Returning to Melbourne on Monday, Lane took one ride for Mathew Ellerton at Ballarat on Tuesday before partnering Esskay for Danny O’Brien on Wednesday.

Lane rode The Astrologist to a narrow second place in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on Saturday night.

“It was a great thrill to be able to compete at such a meeting representing Australia,” Lane said.

“And The Astrologist did everyone proud.

“It was gut-wrenching for everyone involved to go down by such a small margin, but he’s so honest and brave and is a credit to Bennett Racing and Leon and Troy Corstens for having him in such good order and taking up the challenge.”

Lane said depending on visa and licence approval, he hopes to ride in Japan from April 15 through to early June.

Esskay, named after Australia’s leading wicket taker Shane Warne, proved a difficult ride for Lane.

“It was impressive because he’s so green,” Lane said.

“I probably had not ridden a horse as green as him that has been able to win.

“He wasn’t even galloping properly through the first half of the race, but I got him into a nice rhythm down the hill and when the run presented, he picked up good but knocked up a bit late.”

Ben Gleeson, representing the O’Brien stable, said Esskay had pleased the stable in his work at home, jumping every benchmark the stable had set him.

“He’s not a brilliant horse with a turn of foot, but he just grinds and has kept developing in the right way,” Gleeson said.

“He’s a horse that we think will develop into a beautiful three-year-old, so to see him do that, it’s very promising.”

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