Nature Strip Highlights Nicconi Winning Run
Handsome chestnut sprinter Nature Strip looms as Group I star in the making after recording a dominant win in the $250,000 Inglis Dash at Flemington on Saturday, his success one of many in the past week for his sire Nicconi.
A three year-old son of Nicconi, Nature Strip made it four wins from just five career starts to live up to the hype which saw him start a $1.50 favourite.
Now with Robert Hickmott after being previously trained by Robert Smerdon, Nature Strip was having his first run beyond 1000 metres and extended his brilliance to win the 1100 metre scamper by three-quarters of a length.
Passed in at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, where he was offered by Golden Grove Stud, Nature Strip has now won four of five starts earning over $265,000 in prizemoney.
“First time down the straight they are always vulnerable, especially when they are big and raw like him and he just got lost,” said winning rider Ryan Maloney.
“I thought he’d handle it ok but when he was in front he just floated around a bit waiting for a corner.
“He wanted to duck in a bit towards the line and he’ll be better for the experience.”
Nature Strip is now a $5.50 favoruite for the Group I MRC Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield on February 24 and $11 third favourite for the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington a fortnight later.
“He showed he wasn’t a speedy squib today,” Robert Hickmott said. “He came down the outside rail and did it on his own.
“The Oakleigh Plate is being talked about for him and all things being well that’s where we’ll head.
“The Rubiton in a couple of weeks is the logical stepping stone.”
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 enjoyed a two state metropolitan double on Saturday with the Danny Williams trained three year-old Acquittal scoring a stylish win in a strong Highway event at Randwick over 1400 metres.
That was his first win after placing at three previous starts and it won’t be his last!
A $20,000 Inglis Classic purchase for his trainer from the Middlebrook Valley Lodge draft, Acquittal is a half-brother to stakes-placed Ready Cuz from stakes-placed Encosta de Lago mare Familial.
Nicconi also had a metropolitan double at Warwick Farm last Wednesday with Nicci’s Gold and Akasaki, while his Group II winning sprinter Faatinah, who was second in last year’s Oakleigh Plate, was a winner at Meydan in Dubai at his first Northern Hemisphere outing.
His well-bred three year-old filly Neurotic opened her account at Sale on Sunday in the Blue Sky Bloodstock colours of Mark Sowerby.
Trained by Heath Conners, she won the 1100 metre maiden by three-quarters of alength at her first run back from a spell having been fourth at two previous outings in July last year.
A $135,000 Inglis Premier purchase for Blue Sky Bloodstock from the Golden Grove draft that also contained Nature Strip, she is the second winner for South African Group I winner Dane Julia (SAf).
Golden Grove will offer her half-sister by Shamus Award at the 2018 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale as Lot 329.
Quiet achiever Nicconi has 13 yearlings for Inglis Classic and four for Inglis Premier.