Nicconi’s Nature Strip Wins $15million Everest
With $8million in earnings and six Group I wins before today, seven year-old Nature Strip had won just about everything a sprinter in Australia can win barring the Everest and at Randwick on Saturday he added the $15million sprint to his resume with a typically brave front running performance.
Nature Strip had a few different trainers earlier in his career, but has been with Chris Waller since the start of 2019 and has achieved phenomenal success.
Fourth to Yes Yes Yes in the 2019 Everest and then seventh last year behind Classique Legend following a troubled preparation, Nature Strip arrived at Randwick this year for the world’s richest sprint in career best form.
With regular partner James McDonald in the saddle the brilliant son of Nicconi cruised across from barrier 10 to take up the lead and remained there throughout.
Challenged hard at the finish by firstly Eduardo and then Masked Crusader, he stuck to his guns to win by long head, his overall record now 18 wins and six seconds from 33 starts with prizemoney of $14.9million.
Last year’s winner Classique Legend was a gallant fourth having not raced since finishing unplaced in the G1 Hong Kong International Sprint last year.
“I’ve never woken up in the morning and been so confident in a runner… the man who trains him is just an absolute master and the horse is star!” said James McDonald.
Nature Strip is likely to head to Melbourne next for another crack at the Group I VRC Darley Sprint, which he won in 2019 and finished second in last year behind Bivouac.
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.
Nature Strip is the best performer for Widden Stud’s Nicconi, who sired five winners on Saturday. He relocated to Widden Stud Victoria this spring and stands at a fee of $27,500.