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Nature Strip will be sent out as the short priced favourite again in Saturday’s Group 2 $500,000 2018 Euclase Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville despite being beaten at odds on last start.
Craig Williams was grilled over his ride on Nature Strip after the John Sadler trained three year old finished second as the $1.65 favourite to the $61 outsider Sam’s Image in the $150,000 VOBIS Gold Dash (1100m) at Caulfield on April 21.
Euclase Stakes race eve betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Nature Strip as the solid $2.45 favourite with his nearest rival being the James Cummings trainer Viridine at $4 while She’s So High from the Mick Price stable is also in contention at $5.50.
Despite the Racing Victoria Stewards not being happy with Williams’ ride on Nature Strip in the Gold Dash, connections have stuck with the premiership winning jockey.
“At the end of the day Craig is one of the best jockeys in the country and my thought with these top riders is yes, they can make a mistake, but you are better off keeping them on than giving them the boot because they are intent to bounce back next time,” part-owner Rod Lyons told racing.com.
“Craig was locked in for the two rides, last Saturday and in the Euclase Stakes in Adelaide and we are happy with that.”
Viridine also lines up in the Euclase Stakes as a last start beaten favourite ($4.20) when a a luckless eighth of nine in the Group 2 $600,000 Arrowfield 3yo Sprint (1200m) on day two of The Championships at Randwick on April 14
Cummings is happy to overlook the run and is giving Viridine a great chance to restore his reputation in the Euclase Stakes.
“He’s in really good shape after an energy conserving run last time in the Arrowfield Stakes,” Cummings said.
“The colt is really strong and feeling good and by no means is he looking anywhere near the end of his preparation.”
Kerrin McEvoy takes over the reins on Viridine who was also out of luck at the barrier draw, coming up the gate eleven in the twelve horse Euclase Stakes field.
She’s So High is another who left the punters lamenting after finishing fifth as the $3.50 favourite in the Group 3 $200,000 The Man Shake P J Bell Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 7.
The I Am Invincible filly has drawn barrier seven with Damien Oliver retaining the ride.
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