Brilliant sprinter Nature Strip looks set for a successful 2019 Spring Carnival after producing an eye catching trial when runner up to dual Everest winner Redzel in a barrier trial at Rosehill today.
The former Darren Weir trained Nature Strip had always shown a tendency to over-race but James McDonald had little trouble getting the Chris Waller trained five year old into a relaxed rhythm behind the speed machine Redzel in the 1000m trial on the Rosehill course proper.
Waller’s main aim was to teach Nature Strip to settle in his races and the stable was rewarded during the 2019 Sydney Autumn Carnival when the Nicconi gelding was able to lead all of the way for a narrow win in the Group 1 $700,000 OOH!Media Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill.
Today’s trial was Nature Strip’s second this preparation and Waller was pleased to see him settle nicely behind Redzel who was quick out of the gates to set up a handy mid-trial lead.
Redzel cruised to the line with little movement from Kerrin McEvoy while Nature Strip was closing in on the winner without any urging from McDonald.
“I was pretty happy. It looked like he was in the slipstream of a pretty good horse (Redzel) and then angled out without any pressure and just closed late,” Waller told Sky Racing.
“It was pretty good. Very encouraging to see him settling so well.”
McDonald was also all smiles with the performance of Nature Strip who could be selected to fill one of the empty slots for the $14m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 19.
“He was really good. I was very impressed the way he has come back this preparation,” McDonald told Sky Racing.
“He has just improved out of sight. He feels bigger, stronger and he is relaxing a lot better.”
“Albeit he had a good trial and with a lot of pace in it today, if he was going to settle it was going to be today and he did with flying colours.”
“I feel his best work was even through the line. That was an impressive part of him as well.”
Waller already has two confirmed runners in The Everest with former Western Australian stars Enticing Star and Arcadia Queen filling the slots owned by Chris Waller Racing and The Star respectively.
There are still four Everest slots to be filled but Godolphin will select one of their own sprinters to fill their slot while James Harron Bloodstock and Coolmore are yet to decide on a candidate and the Melbourne Racing Club will promote the winner of the Group 2 $400,000 Keno Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 12 into their Everest slot.
Nature Strip has been included in the pre-post betting for The Everest at $13 with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Anthony Freedman trained Santa Ana Lane as the $5 favourite.
Slots for the 2019 The Everest that have been allocated are Chris Waller Racing – Enticing Star, The Star – Arcadia Queen, Yulong Investments – Redzel, Max Whitby – Sunlight, TAB – Santa Ana Lane, Aquis – Pierata, Bon Ho & Carmel Size Racing – Classique Legend and Inglis – In Her Time.
Pre-post betting for the 2019 The Everest at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 Santa Ana Lane, $7 Osborne Bulls, $8 Pierata, $9 Sunlight, $10 Classique Legend, $12 Arcadia Queen, Alizee, $13 In Her Time, Nature Strip, $14 Enticing Star, Redzel, $17 Graff, $21 Yes Yes Yes, $26 Zoustyle, $31 Hot King Prawn, Home Of The Brave, Mr Stunning, $41 or better the rest.