Nature Strip Retired – Thanks for the Memories
Nicconi has sired hundreds of winners, but the one that will be remembered for all time is his superstar two time Australian Horse of the Year and world champion sprinter Nature Strip, who was officially retired on Saturday.
The Chris Waller trained nine year-old gelding was seeking to recapture his best form in the $1million Group III ATC Concorde Stakes at Randwick, but finished out of the placings with his retirement announced shortly after.
“I’m announcing his retirement on behalf of the owners,” Waller told the media.
“He’s just been an amazing horse and everything he does he does to the best of his ability, even today, he was prepared well, he came to the race sound, he was trialling well.
“Yes, he jumped well, he travelled nicely, he looked to come up the rise well but the same acceleration and spark wasn’t there.
“There has been no indication that race ability was not there anymore, but he wasn’t the same horse in the race today.
“He’s just been such an amazing horse, it’s only fitting that we announce it as soon as the decision has been made.”
Rod Lyons, the senior part-owner of Nature Strip, said the ownership group unanimously agreed with Waller’s decision.
“It’s a sad day, we knew it would come, all champions come to the end of the road,” Lyons said.
“I told Chris not to cry as I would start crying. I wish he could have won today and gone on.
“But he’s been a wonderful horse and taken us to such magnificent heights.
“Who would have dreamt we would ever get a horse like him. To go to Royal Ascot will stay in our memories forever, and also for our kids and our grandkids memories. It’s been a joy and pleasure to race this horse.”
Nature Strip retires after 44 starts, winning 22 races including nine at Group 1 level and nearly $21m in prizemoney with career highlights including his 2021 Everest win and his breathtakingly brilliant victory at Royal Ascot last year in the Group I King’s Stand Stakes.