The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Chris Waller stable unbelievably hit new heights this season taking out the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday with glamour mare Verry Elleegant and now their The Everest champion Nature Strip starts red hot favourite in one of the final Group 1s of the carnival heading 2021 Darley Sprint Classic betting for Saturday.
There are just nine sprinters engaged in this season’s Group 1 $2 million Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) and Waller will saddle-up four of them.
Heading the field and latest Darley Sprint Classic odds at a very short $1.35 through Ladbrokes.com.au, Nicconi seven-year-old Nature Strip has an outstanding Flemington race record he’s tipped to add to on the weekend.
From seven runs at Headquarters the stable star has enjoyed five wins and a second, the latest of which was his Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning win back in mid-February.
Since then he has raced exclusively at Randwick including his last start victory in the world’s richest turf race when handing Waller a second $15 million The Everest win.
Having come through The Everest win in good condition, he now heads south and runs in the Darley Sprint Classic for the third time.
He won in 2019, was runner-up to Bivouac last year and looks every chance to add another victory to his glittering CV on Saturday from barrier two with Melbourne Cup winning hoop James McDonald in the saddle.
So dominant is Nature Strip in VRC Sprint Classic betting that no other runner is under double-figures to challenge him.
The next shortest priced in the market are the ultra-consistent Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained mare Bella Nipotina ($10) and Ranch Hand ($13) who is the other best fancied of the Waller runners.
Jye McNeil partners Pride Of Dubai mare Bella Nipotina who comes off a devastatingly close second to Jonker in The Valley’s Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on Cox Plate eve.
No doubt she’s better at Moonee Valley than Flemington, but she has twice placed at the track in easier grade and is racing well enough to finish top three.
Ranch Hand is drawn barrier seven with Brett Prebble, runner-up on the beaten short-priced favourite Incentivise in the Melbourne Cup this week, retaining the ride on the progressive Fastnet Rock colt.
The youngster presents fit fourth-up off a trio of lead-up runs at the track including a last start fourth to Home Affairs as a 30/1 outsider from barrier 15 of 16 in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Derby Day.
He comes back from 57kg that run to 53.5kg at weight-for-age on the quick back-up and is one of two Waller-trained three-year-olds in the race along with Shaquero ($26) who ran ninth in the Coolmore.
Waller’s now four-year-old Exceed And Excel mare September Run is the other runner lining-up in the Darley Sprint Classic field for the team.
She has a 50% winning strike-rate at Flemington from her six previous runs highlighted by her Coolmore Stud Stakes victory last Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Runner-up to Nature Strip in the Black Caviar Lightning fresh in the autumn, her form since has been hit and miss.
She has been racing in easier company this time in finishing out of the money including a Derby Day sixth in the Group 3 Begonia Belle Stakes (1100m), but is being kept safe at $16 in betting for the Darley Classic.
2021 Darley Sprint Classic Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||72x121x121||NATURE STRIP||Chris Waller||James McDonald||2||58.5kg||120|
|2||1167×28754||STREETS OF AVALON||Shane Nichols||Zac Spain||1||58.5kg||109|
|3||x40168x414||SPLINTEX||Mark Newnham||Kerrin McEvoy||5||58.5kg||107|
|4||4925×13095||SAMIZDAT||Chris & Michael Gangemi||Damian Lane||3||58.5kg||97|
|5||x2048x3766||SEPTEMBER RUN||Chris Waller||Craig Williams||4||56.5kg||107|
|6||336×312132||BELLA NIPOTINA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Jye McNeil||6||56.5kg||106|
|7||12x358x805||SWATS THAT||Leon & Troy Corstens||Hugh Bowman||9||56.5kg||101|
|8||721610×579||SHAQUERO||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||8||53.5kg||88|
|9||35x200x174||RANCH HAND||Chris Waller||Brett Prebble||7||53.5kg||82|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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