Nicconi’s Nature Strip Everest Favourite
With $8million in earnings and Six Group I wins, seven year-old Nature Strip has won just about everything a sprinter in Australia can win barring the Everest and if things go to plan it might be third time lucky for the powerhouse chestnut after his blazing return on Saturday.
Perfectly tuned up by Chris Waller for the Group II ATC Concorde Stakes (1000m), Nature Strip hit the ground running for his regular partner James McDonald and quickly found the front.
He was always in cruise control and surged clear to win by two and a half lengths over Wild Ruler, clocking a slick 56.66 seconds with his last 600m in 32.62.
Not long after his win, TAB reacted by tightening his Everest quote from $5 to $4.50 favourite.
“He’s had a trouble free preparation and looks to be in for a good spring,” said Chris Waller.
“It was great to see him show that acceleration and put a gap in them.”
Nature Strip has the overall record of 17 wins and five seconds from 31 starts with earnings of $8.1million.
“I can safely say that’s the best I’ve ever felt him first-up,” McDonald said.
“I think the writing was on the wall with his last TJ win when they decided to take him on and that back-fired for them. He was able to take a sit and show that lethal turn of foot that he’s got, but sustain (his) speed.
“He is so balanced….he’s just in a good frame of mind.”
Bred by Golden Grove, Nature Strip was passed in as a yearling and is a half-brother to stakes-winner The Barrister from Group III winning Desert Sun (GB) mare Strikeline, who was covered by Shamus Award last spring.
One of four winner on Saturday for Nicconi, Nature Strip is the best performer for his sire, who has relocated to Widden Stud Victoria this spring and stands at a fee of $27,500.