The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Chris Waller’s outstanding sprinter Nature Strip ran the ideal race fresh winning the 2021 Concorde Stakes at his third attempt ahead of another shot in the $15 million The Everest next month.
Twice beaten the past two years in the Group 3 $160,000 Concorde Stakes (1000m) when fourth in 2019 and runner-up as the beaten odds-on favourite behind Gytrash last year, Nature Strip was never going to get run down in an excellent return this spring.
Presenting the fittest first-up he’s ever looked, the now seven-year-old son of Nicconi ran accordingly and controlled the race up front before finishing strongly to salute as the $1.55 favourite.
Despite only jumping fairly, jockey James McDonald didn’t take long to get Nature Strip in the lead where the horse went through his gears getting into the perfect rhythm for a trouble-free run.
Showing nice acceleration late, Nature Strip eventually defeated Wild Ruler by three lengths with the Godolphin-raced Trekking good late over the short trip to run a nice third.
It was quick time in the Concorde Stakes today with Nature Strip winning in 56.66 despite the Soft-rated Randwick track.
The $8 million earner has now put himself right in the picture for his third attempt at saluting in the world’s richest turf race when The Everest 2021 runs over 1200m back at Randwick on October 16.
Fourth to stablemate Yes Yes Yes in the 2019 The Everest and seventh behind Classique Legend last year, Nature Strip fills the Chris Waller Racing slot again in 2021 and looks right on track.
“He’s come back so well and he’s had a trouble-free prep, it looks like he’s in for a good spring,” Waller told Sky Thoroughbred Central post-win.
“It was great to see him show that acceleration and leave a bit of a gap on them.”
Looking ahead, Waller said it was more than likely Nature Strip would not race again until The Everest but had not 100% ruled out a second-up run in the $500,000 Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 18.
“He could run in two weeks’ time in a $500,000 race here at Randwick, but realistically it’s just about longevity with these horses,” Waller said.
“We know he’s got a couple of big races to come up.
“We’ll see how he comes through today.”
All-in The Everest odds on Nature Strip at Ladbrokes.com.au have him as the current $4.50 favourite just ahead of Masked Crusader ($5) and the defending champion Classique Legend ($7) and are available in full here.
2021 Concorde Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||NATURE STRIP||Chris Waller||James McDonald||4||60.5kg||$1.50F|
|2||3||WILD RULER||Peter & Paul Snowden||Sam Clipperton||2.48L||6||59.5kg||$5|
|3||2||TREKKING||James Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||2.98L||5||60kg||$9.50|
|4||6||HANDLE THE TRUTH||Keith Dryden||Jason Collett||4.49L||1||57kg||$31|
|5||9||ADELONG||Brad Widdup||Jay Ford||4.73L||8||55kg||$14|
|6||4||STANDOUT||Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou||Hugh Bowman||4.98L||7||59kg||$18|
|7||8||STANDING BEAR||Tony Ball||Brock Ryan (a)||8.56L||3||56kg||$101|
|8||7||STAR BOY||Brett Cavanough||Joshua Parr||18.41L||2||56kg||$81|
|5||WISDOM OF WATER||Annabel Neasham||Tim Clark||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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