Nature Strip Reaffirms Status

Waller and Mcdonald open accounts in top sprint

The Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip confirmed his status as arguably Australia’s top sprinting talent with a devastating victory in the Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

A tilt at Royal Ascot had previously been mooted by connections but it appears the wide-ranging implications of the coronavirus crisis will likely foil a 2020 bid at the meeting for the now four-time Gr1 winner.

The Brilliant Inglis Premier graduate Nature Strip (Nicconi) confirmed his status with another demolition of his opposition.

In a TJ field that included nine individual Gr1 winners, Nature Strip proved to be in a league of his own, breaking his rivals’ hearts to give both trainer Chris Waller and jockey James McDonald their first TJ victories.

In an Inglis graduates trifecta, Nature Strip defeated Santa Ana Lane and Redzel.

The win continued the domination of Inglis graduates in Australia’s feature Gr1 sprint, who have won the past six editions of the race and nine of the past 10 with Santa Ana Lane (2019), Trapeze Artist (2018), Chautauqua (2015, 2016, 2017), Black Caviar (2011 and 2013) and Master Of Design (2012).

Nature Strip is one of 46 individual Gr1-winning Inglis graduates since 2018.

Sean Buckley of Golden Grove – who bred and offered Nature Strip at the Premier Yearling Sale – is continually amazed by what Nature Strip achieves.

“He’s an outstanding sprinter, he just breaks their hearts,’’ Buckley said.

“I remember him as a yearling, he was always a big eater, very precocious early.

“We knew he was very good but we sell our colts and keep our fillies. I’m glad we bred and sold a nice horse – he’s the best sprinter in the world.’’

Trainer Chris Waller described Nature Stirp as “an amazing horse’’.

“What he does to his rivals is he makes it so hard for them to stay with him and gee from the 600m mark to the 300m mark you can see they’re all just struggling to stay with him,’’ Waller said.

“And he can still maintain it for 1200m. So, wow, what a great horse and we’ve got a lot to look forward to.’’

Following Saturday’s win, Nature Strip firmed into an outright $4.50 TAB favourite for The Everest, to be run at Randwick on October 17.

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