Nature Strip Proves Up to the Challenge with Bounce Back Win

March 7, 2020

Nature Strip Proves Up to the Challenge with Bounce Back Win

Three-time Group 1 winner Nature Strip bounced back at Randwick on Saturday following last month’s bitter disappointment in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.

The five-year-old speedster put paid to a talented field of sprinters to win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) by three lengths, firming in betting ahead of next month’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes.

Punters were left satisfied with the $3.10 fill-up, while trainer Chris Waller was also pleased with his horse’s cool demeanour.

“We took it a bit cheap last start. We didn’t really have a tactic of harnessing how much speed he does have and unfortunately, that can get him into a bit of trouble. When you are burning that much gas, the gas runs out.

Nature Strip currently sits on the second line of TJ Smith Stakes betting alongside Santa Ana Lane. Photo: Steve Hart.

“Here today he was a little more relaxed and the horse was in a good comfort zone. He put a couple of little head wobbles in (like Ronnie Dufficy does) and that was a good sign coming up the rise. He let down beautifully today” Waller said.

Nature Strip got away fairly from the gates before setting up on the inside of Redzel. At the 300m mark, he found the lead off the bend, right before long-time jockey James McDonald kicked away in the saddle.

Unlike his last start, Nature Strip looked well behaved and very calm throughout the race as McDonald stayed patient.

After firming from $10 into $6.00, Waller thinks he’ll likely head towards the TJ Smith after squashing some of the doubt following the Black Caviar Lightning.

“Back on track for that. I was dead keen to run him in the Canterbury Stakes at 1300m but it went pear-shaped last start. It will take a very good horse to beat him. The Newmarket today was fantastic and all those horses will come up” Waller said.

Redzel also won back some admirers running second in the Challenge Stakes 2020 results, while Jungle Edge did well to figure in the placings.

The complete TJ Smith Stakes 2020 betting markets courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au can be viewed here.

2020 Challenge Stakes Results

Place # Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Barrier Weight SP
1 2 NATURE STRIP Chris Waller James McDonald 1 58.5kg $3.10F
2 3 REDZEL Peter & Paul Snowden Kerrin McEvoy 3L 2 58.5kg $4.40
3 6 JUNGLE EDGE Mick Bell Ms Jade Darose 3.2L 3 58.5kg $31
4 7 MISS LEONIDAS Shaun Dwyer Joe Bowditch 3.7L 4 56.5kg $31
5 5 DEPRIVE James Cummings Hugh Bowman 3.9L 5 58.5kg $3.70
6 1 SANTA ANA LANE Anthony Freedman Mark Zahra 4.7L 7 58.5kg $5.50
7 4 BALL OF MUSCLE Joseph Pride Glyn Schofield 6.5L 6 58.5kg $31
8 8 I AM IMMORTAL Anthony Freedman Tim Clark 15.6L 8 56kg $26

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