Second G1 for Nicconi’s Nature Strip
Nicconi’s brilliant short-course specialist Nature Strip was on his best behaviour in Friday night’s $1,000,000 Group I MVRC Moir Stakes (1000m) and emerged triumphant.
Taking up his favoured front-running role under James McDonald, the striking chestnut gave a kick in the straight to hold of a pack of fast-finishers headed by the outsider Miss Leonidas who fell a short-neck short with the same distance back to outstanding Zoustar mare Sunlight.
Winner of Group 1 ATC The Galaxy in Rosehill back in March, Nature Strip advances his record to 11 wins and 2 seconds from 18 starts with earnings of $1,879,285.
Coming off a slightly disappointing fourth when favourite in the Concorde Stakes at Randwick at his most recent start, Nature Strip has won three and finished second once in four starts over the 1000 metres at Moonee Valley and he holds the course record at the trip.
Winning trainer Chris Waller said Nature Strip deserves a shot at the $14 million The Everest if he can gain a slot.
“I don’t think 1200 metres is a problem,” Waller told racing.com.
“I’d say we’ll just see how it unfolds over the next few days. If he doesn’t get an invite to The Everest, I guess the Schillaci is the logical choice but there are plenty of options this time of year.
”I didn’t give James any instructions. Just do what you think its best and don’t try to fire him up.
”It’s a bitter pill to take when you don’t quite get it right so I think this is a good reward for everybody and I hope the punters had something on and got a bit back from last start when apparently I did everything wrong.”
Bred by Golden Grove, Nature Strip is a half-brother to stakes-winner The Barrister from Group III winning Desert Sun (GB) mare Strikeline, a $500,000 earner who was a 6-time winner including the Group III Ian McEwen Trophy at Moonee Valley, which is the same race in which her son set the track record.
Nature Strip is the flagbearer for his sire Nicconi, who stands this spring at a fee of $38,500.