Nature Strip becomes Australia’s highest rated horse this season after Darley Sprint Classic victory

Nature Strip becomes Australia’s highest rated horse this season after Darley Sprint Classic victory

 BY KEN BOMAN | @ANZ_NEWS

Nature Strip’s (Nicconi) brilliant victory in Saturday’s Darley Sprint Classic (registered as VRC Sprint Classic) (Gr 1, 1200m) at Flemington was awarded a 128 Timeformrating – the highest figure recorded in Australia
this season.
The noted speedster went to the front and then raced away over the closing stages to win by three and a quarter lengths from Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible) [111] with In Her Time (TimeThief) [106], a length and a quarter away third.
It was Nature Strip’s third Group 1 win in seven starts since joining the Chris Waller stable
in February and the five-year-old gelding’s 12th win in 20 career starts.
The brilliant performance also resulted in Nature Strip taking the lead in Timeform’s 2019-
2020 Five-Year-old rankings with a career-best rating, his 128 peak being a jump of five pounds
on the son of Nicconi’s (Bianconi) 123 previous
best rating.
In addition, Nature Strip’s 128-rated performance was two pounds superior to the
126 winners’ average for the Darley Sprint Classic over the past five years.
Another highly rated victory over the Melbourne Cup Carnival was the win of
the Team Hawkes-trained colt Exceedance (Exceed And Excel) [125] in the Coolmore Stud
Stakes (registered as Ascot Vale Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m) on November 2.
Exceedance finished best to defeat his arch-rival Bivouac (Exceed And Excel) [124] by
a long neck with the classy filly Libertini (I Am Invincible) [114] a length and a half away in third.
The win, Exceedance’s third in six starts, now sees him sharing the lead with $14 million
The Everest (1200m) winner Yes Yes Yes (Rubick) [125] in Timeforms’ 2019-2020 Threeyear-Old rankings.
His win was also a career-best for Exceedance, a five pounds improvement on his 120-rated second to Bivouac
in the Golden Rose Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) at Rosehill on September 28.
Exceedance’s 125-rated Coolmore Stud Stakes victory was also four pounds above 121
average rating for winners of the race over the past five years.
However, the feature race of the day, the Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) was not a highly
rated race this year with the winner Warning (Declaration Of War) returning a 115 rating, three
pounds under the 118 five-year winners’ average.
After tracking a moderate tempo in soft 7 conditions, the Anthony Freedman-trained Warning still
remained an impressive winner, demonstrating his stamina in advancing to 2500 metres at his seventh
race start in scoring easily by three and a quarter lengths.

 


In the Kennedy Oaks (registered as VRC Oaks) (Gr 1, 2500m), the Danny O’Brien-trained
filly Miami Bound (Reliable Man) [113] raced away to score by the same decisive margin.
Her 113-rated win was a career-best for Miami Bound, seven pounds superior to her
win in the Wakeful Stakes (Gr 2, 2000m) and a pound above the prior five-year 112 winners’
average for the VRC Oaks.
The Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) produced an exciting finish with the first five horses going to the
post less than a length apart but it was not a highly rated renewal of the famous race.
The Danny O’Brien-trained Vow And Declare (Declaration Of War) [117] staged a solid staying
performance in winning, with Prince Of Arran (Shirocco) [119] second and Il Paradiso (Galileo) [122] third
after the relegation of Master Of Reality (Frankel) [121]
to fourth.
Vow And Declare’s win was rated at 117 by Timeform, which matched his 117 career best when fourth
in the Turnbull Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) and second in the Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) but was six pounds
under the 124 winners’ average for the past five editions of the Melbourne Cup.
Carrying 52 kilograms, Vow And Declare was only having his 13th race start so improved
ratings are anticipated for the talented four-yearold stayer with further experience and maturity.