Speed machine Nature Strip will bypass the Group 1 $500,000 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on Friday night and will stay in Sydney for The Championships.
Trainer Chris Waller will now prepare Nature Strip for the Group 1 $2.5m T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 4.
“We’ll probably give him a trial eight days before the TJ to make sure that he’s nice and fit,” Waller said on Twitter.
“I did put a nom in for Friday at Moonee Valley but he won’t run.”
“Nature Strip is going well.”
“James (McDonald) said this morning that this horse will get 1300m one day.”
Nature Strip was sent out as the odds on favourite at his first run back this preparation in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) down the Flemington straight on February 15 but faded in the run to the line to be a well beaten fourth behind Gytrash.
Waller then took Nature Strip back to Sydney and he returned to his best with a dominant win in the Group 2 $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 7.
Early betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the 2020 T J Smith Stakes has Nature Strip as the second pick at $4.80 behind Newmarket Handicap winner Bivouac at $4.20.
Pre-post betting for the 2020 T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 Bivouac, $4.80 Nature Strip, $5.50 Santa Ana Lane, $8 Exceedance, $10 Loving Gaby, $11 Pierata, $15 Redzel, $17 Trekking, $26 Cosmic Force, Flit, In Her Time, Kementari, Libertini, Savatiano, Standout, Super Seth, $31 Deprive, $51 or better the rest.