ThoroughBred Racing

Newmarket option for Nature Strip

Newmarket option for Nature Strip

A first tilt at the Newmarket Handicap hasn’t been ruled out for the world’s best sprinter, Nature Strip, who returns to Flemington on Saturday for the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning.

It will be the fourth season in a row that Nature Strip has tackled the ultimate 1000-metre test and trainer Chris Waller said he thinks the horse is well placed to run well again.



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“He’s back and he looks well and everything’s gone to plan,” Waller told

In the past, Nature Strip has followed his Lightning efforts with runs in the 1000-metre Challenge Stakes at Randwick two weeks later, but the horse has been vulnerable in that race, having run second to Eduardo in 2021 and then third to that horse and Shelby Sixtysix in 2022.

As a fourth win in the G1 T.J. Smith Stakes is the super sprinter’s main autumn goal, he may need another run before the $3 million race on April 1. The $1.5m Newmarket is run on March 11.

Waller indicated that Nature Strip, who would be asked to carry as much as 60 kilograms in the Newmarket, was more likely to stay on the same autumn path as the past three years at this stage.

“We’ve been pretty traditional,” he explained. “We’ve done the same most preps, so I couldn’t see too many changes, but I won’t rule it (Newmarket) out.

“The T.J. is certainly firmly on his horizon – he’s won the previous three – so obviously that race means a lot and we won’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Prize Money
Last 5
2 – 14J.B.McDonaldFLEM5 NOV 20221200mVRC CLASSIC58.5kg0.2L$1.75
4 – 12J.B.McDonaldRAND15 OCT 20221200mEVEREST58.5kg1L$1.90
1 – 13J.B.McDonaldRAND17 SEP 20221100mTHE SHORTS58kg1.4L$2.40
1 – 16J.B.McDonaldASC.14 JUN 20221006mKING’S STAND60.5kg4.5L$3.25
1 – 11J.B.McDonaldRAND2 APR 20221200mT J SMITH58.5kg3.4L$2.30

Waller said he is pleased with the way Nature Strip has come through an impressive jumpout down the straight last Friday and said he saw no signs of age or weariness in the horse who has won connections a staggering $20m.

“No, not at all,” he said. “We’ll let his performances tell us each run and each prep, so we’ve set out two or three runs for him and hopefully he can start off with a good run on Saturday,” he said.

18 Feb 2023
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