‘We know what works’: Nature Strip follows familiar path to Randwick

Nature Strip, the world’s top-rated sprinter, might be a week late back to the barrier trials but is set for his regular autumn campaign targeted at winning an unprecedented fourth TJ Smith Stakes at The Championships in April.

Champion trainer Chris Waller has closely monitored the preparation of Nature Strip, now an eight-year-old, and he admitted the sprinter raced a little tired in the spring after his successful trip to Royal Ascot, where he won the King’s Stand Stakes last year.

“He put [on] the weight I wanted him to, not the weight he wanted to,” Waller said. “With these older horses you want to keep them in good condition because they can get away on you.

“He has had a jumpout and is where I want him heading to the trial and then the Lightning Stakes [at Flemington on February 18].

“We know what works with him and he is showing us that he still wants to be there.”

Nature Strip has had the same preparation for the past three years — going to the Lightning followed by the Challenge Stakes at Randwick with a month into the TJ Smith — but he has usually had two barrier trials in Sydney.

Trainer Chris Waller greets Nature Strip after his King’s Stand Stakes win at Royal Ascot.Credit:Getty Images

“The program works for him, we have waited a little longer to get the trial,” Waller said. “He will go to Warwick Farm on Monday and then have a jumpout down the straight at Flemington on Friday week, which will have him ready for the Lightning.”

Nature Strip will be in the first heat at Warwick Farm and is joined by stablemates Caulfield Cup winner Durston and Victoria Derby winner Manzoice as well as Zaaki, Private Eye and Fireburn.

Later in the morning, there is a crack three-year-old heat including Coolmore Stud Stakes winner In Secret, Thousand Guineas winner Madame Pommery as well as the promising pair of Sunshine In Paris and Cinderella Days.

Williamsburg thunders down the outside to win the Dulcify Stakes at Randwick.Credit:Getty

Chance to buy a share in Derby-bound Williamsburg

There could be a quick return for whoever buys the 10 per cent of group 1 placegetter Williamsburg on the Inglis digital site on Tuesday.

The Snitzel colt out of Vinery Stud Stakes winner Fenway will be on a Derby preparation starting with Saturday’s Eskimo Prince Stakes, which will include Aft Cabin, Zou Tiger and Osipenko.

Williamsburg has always looked a colt that would be at his best as a late three-year-old, even though he was the first colt home in last year’s Champagne Stakes behind She’s Extreme and Fireburn, won the Dulcify Stakes and was placed in the Gloaming Stakes in the spring.

The last time a similar opportunity came up was when a share in Private Eye was sold last spring. It proved a bonanza as he went on to run second in The Everest and won the Nature Strip Stakes.

The King waiting for Chalk Stream’s Australia Day Cup

There will be an extra bit of luggage for the King’s bloodstock and racing adviser John Warren to deliver to Buckingham Palace after Chalk Stream gave His Majesty a first winner down under in the Australia Day Cup on Thursday.

The stayer sent to Chris Waller by Queen Elizabeth last year relished getting on firm ground and raced to victory with Warren in the stands.

“It is great to be there and to be taking a trophy from Australia Day back to the King,” Warren said. “He is fascinated with this horse because of some videos Chris has sent us.

“The things they have done to work this bloke out has seen him become one of the King’s favourite horses. He was delighted to see him win.

Australia Day Cup winner Chalk Stream gallops for James McDonald last February.Credit:Getty

“He was sent out here because he likes dry tracks and hasn’t really seen one until now and we are hoping he will go on now.”

Waller rated the victory as a career highlight and said the videos of Chalk Stream had included a rider eating a bowl of cereal on him while in the barriers.

“He spent some time with Dan Robinson just working on getting him to relax and it is starting to pay off,” Waller said.

“It was fantastic to get that win for the King, it was a bit sad that we couldn’t get it done for the Queen before she died.”

Chalk Stream is likely to have his next run at Moonee Valley as there are no suitable races in the next month for him in NSW.

Forbidden Love retired after Expressway failure

Michael Freedman has retired three-time group 1-winning mare Forbidden Love after she injured a fetlock when well beaten in the Expressway Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

The All Too Hard mare, who won more than $2.2 million on the track, pulled up lame after Saturday and is likely to be sold as a broodmare later in the year.

Meanwhile, Bjorn Baker-trained two-year-old Infatuation will miss the autumn after having arthroscopic surgery to its off-fore fetlock following the Magic Millions.

Hugh Bowman celebrates Forbidden Love’s George Ryder win last autumn.Credit:Getty

Sicilian set to add to Tulloch Lodge juvenile team

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott chalked up two-year-old win No.10 for the season when Red Resistance saw off Golden Slipper favourite King’s Gambit with some ease on Saturday and there is more to come.

Red Resistance is probably at the top of the list, but Tulloch Lodge will roll out another smart filly, Sicilian, in the Lonhro Plate next weekend. She was sixth in the Gimcrack Stakes behind stablemate Platinum Jubilee but has been a star of the barrier trials, winning twice in recent times.

“She just blew out at the end of the Gimcrack but has always been highly rated by us,” Bott said. “We wanted to go to 1000m first-up with her and this race suited going forward to better races.

“She is a nice filly with plenty of talent.”

Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article