Veteran 10-year-old Ihtsahymn entered the...
The Chris Waller-trained Nature Strip further confirmed his spot at the top of The Everest 2020 betting for this season with a brilliant trial performance at Rosehill on Tuesday.
The $5 million earner lined-up in his first official trial of the new season in the second heat of the morning held on the course proper, which was rated a Heavy (8).
The Group & Listed Trial over 900m saw Nature Strip dominate the hit-out with James McDonald aboard, the hoop never fully testing the too-easy winner who recorded a winning time of 55.98.
Nature Strip cruised to the line three lengths ahead of the Jason Coyle-trained Spiritual Pursuit, while third past the post a further four and a half lengths back was Pancho also prepared by Sydney’s premier trainer Waller.
The heat also featured the likes of Waller’s Group 1 Schweppes Oaks winner Toffee Tongue (5th) and his Melbourne Cup-bound stayer Finche (10th) who ran fourth to Cross Counter and seventh to Vow And Declare in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the ‘race that stops a nation’ respectively.
Nature Strip’s latest run was also in the mud when saluting in the wet back in April to take out the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) by two lengths with McDonald aboard.
The reigning champion of Flemington’s Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at HQ from last November, Nature Strip is one of two confirmed The Everest horses so far in 2020.
The speedy Nicconi six-year-old lined-up in last year’s edition of the world’s richest turf race for James Harron Bloodstock, backing-up from his Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) victory at The Valley to run fourth to his young stablemate Yes Yes Yes in The Everest results.
This season he has already been confirmed a shot at atonement for slot holders the TAB, with last year’s sixth placegetter Classique Legend (Bon Ho) the other galloper confirmed for a run in the $15 million feature at Randwick on October 17.
Waller has pencilled in September 5 as the official spring kick-off for his stable ace with Nature Strip to resume in the Group 3 $160,000 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick.
“Nature Strip’s come back in great shape & it’s a privilege to be working with these types of horses,” Waller said on Twitter.
“He’s a serious racehorse, he’s matured into a Star!!! He’ll have one more trial prior to running in the Concord on the 5th of Sept.”
Dual The Everest champion Redzel (2017, 2018) twice won the Concorde Stakes ahead of his victories in the opening two editions of the buy-in event and returned to make it a hat-trick in the Group 3 last season.
Second-up Waller is eyeing a run back at Randwick on October 3 in the Group 2 $500,000 Premier Stakes (1200m).
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