Nicconi gelding a freak of Nature Rejuvenated sprinter scores scintillating Darley Sprint Classic win
Speed machine Nature Strip (Nicconi) simply gave nothing else a chance in yesterday’s
Darley Sprint Classic (Gr 1, 1200m) as he scorched to victory down the Flemington straight.
Rider James McDonald was quick to find the outside rail on Nature Strip and after establishing
an unchallenged lead, the pair sizzled home in 33.08 seconds which effectively set an impossible task for the
chasing pack. An emphatic three and a quarter length win was the result, with Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible) and In Her
Time (Time Thief) filling the minor placings. Hot favourite Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega) was uncharacteristically flat, finishing six lengths from Nature Strip in sixth.
“I’m thrilled for the horse and thrilled for the connections, he has gone to a
new level this preparation, he has had only one real disappointment and that was
at his first start, apart from that he’s been faultless, he’s a star,” McDonald said.
“He was airborne, floating across the ground, I slipped him a bit more
rein at the 300m and I looked at the big screen and thought ‘oh no’, it felt
like I was six in front and he was still going through his gears and he ran it
out so strongly.”
Trainer Chris Waller revealed plans of tackling Royal Ascot next year.
“All preparation he has shown how well he is going, he’s a very happy
horse and that takes them a long way,” he said.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to takeover a very fast horse and we’ve
added a bit of our own fine tuning.
“I’m not to sure where he will have his next starts but I know the team
are keen to take him to Royal Ascot in June but there will certainly be a few
races before then.”
Sam Freedman said favourite Santa Ana Lane would enjoy an
extended spell after a hectic 2019.
flat,” Freedman told Racing.com.
“A lot of horses, when they
come back from Hong Kong, it
takes them a while to get over it.
“To be honest, I know he was
unlucky in The Everest but I don’t
think he was at his best there
“He’s going to have a good
break and we’ll see what we do
Santa Ana Lane’s jockey
Mark Zahra agreed the sprinter
“He just went a bit tired
today,” Zahra said.
“When I got the gaps on the
outside fence I thought he’d
zoom – nothing would’ve beat
the winner today – but he just
went like he’s a tired horse.”
Passed in for $90,000 (reserve
$120,000) at the 2016 Inglis
Melbourne Premier Yearling
Sale, Nature Strip (5 g Nicconi – Strikeline by Desert Sun) took his record
to 11 wins and two placings from 18 starts for prize-money of $1,879,285.
Nature Strip is one of three winners for the Group 3-winning mare
Strikeline (Desert Sun), making him a half-brother to Fernhill Handicap
(Listed, 1600m) winner The Barrister (Star Witness), now racing as High
Volatility in Hong Kong.
Strikeline is herself a half-sister to fellow Group 3 winner Bashful
Girl (Perugino), with the pair being out of Listed winner Strike High (Pre
The mare has an unraced three-year-old sister to Nature Strip and
a two-year-old colt by Rosemont Stud’s Shamus Award (Snitzel), while
she has most recently been covered by New Zealand’s leading stallion
Nature Strip was bred by Sean Buckley’s Golden Grove Stud and the
operation’s manager Anthony Swords does not regret parting with the
brilliant sprinter as a yearling.
“We sell good horses. It’s as simple as that,” Swords said.
“People often say ‘why would they sell their good ones?’ but that’s
what we do. We breed and raise very good horses and the owners of
Nature Strip are seeing that first hand. Good luck to them.’’
Nicconi stands at Widden Stud for a fee of $38,500 (inc GST)