Brilliant Return for Nature Strip
The one thing missing on the resume of Widden Stud’s quiet achiever Nicconi is a Group I winner, but that looks certain to change next season when we see the best of Nature Strip.
Having his first start for new trainer Darren Weir at Flemington on Saturday, brilliant three year-old Nature Strip lugged 60.5 kg to a scintillating four and a half length win in the open three year-old event over 1100 metres.
He hit the wire in a time of 1:02.26. That was just 0.11s outside the 1100-metre course record set by Loveyamadly in 2013 when she raced on a Good 3, while Nature Strip raced on a Soft 5.
Weir has only had the horse six weeks after early stints with Caulfield trainers Robert Smerdon, Robert Hickmott and John Sadler and thanked those trainers for shaping a ready-made star.
“They did all the hard work on this horse and then he came to me,” Weir said. “I got the horse at the right time. I haven’t improved him. He’s just a really good horse.
“It looked like he was playing with them and enjoying it so that’s a really good sign.
“I just wanted to see him do it because there’s such a hype on him. Jarrod (McLean) who I regard as a great mate and great for my stable, he said ‘He’s a machine’.
“He works with all my good horses and he knows them and he said ‘Well, this one’s a beauty’.”
Passed in at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, where he was offered by Golden Grove Stud, Nature Strip has now won five of eight starts earning over $400,000 in prizemoney.
Bred by Golden Grove, Nature Strip is a half-brother to stakes-winner The Barrister from Group III winning Desert Sun (GB) mare Strikeline.
Nicconi covered 200 plus books of mares in his past two seasons and has had a fee rise this spring to $24,750 and is filling fast.
Widden based sires found Flemington a happy hunting ground on Saturday with smart Sebring two year-old Good ‘n’ Fast taking out the juvenile event and classy Star Witness stayer Lycurgus scoring his sixth win to lift his prizemoney total in excess of $380,000.