The New Nature Strip

A week is a long time in racing, then there is 18 months and what a transformation it has been for Nature Strip.

NATURE STRIP winning the Tab T J Smith Stakes.
NATURE STRIP winning the Tab T J Smith Stakes. Picture: Steve Hart

Since joining the Chris Waller stable, Nature Strip has notched up six wins from 11 starts, four of which were at Group 1 level.

He is the highest rated horse in the country and the pronounced favourite for the Everest.

Does he still have a chink or has Waller ironed them all out?

Away from his six wins for the stable, he has failed to fill the placings, twice first up (his last two first up attempts).

I remember thinking I had worked Nature Strip out, fresh was best.

I wrote this article highlighting how there were two versions of Nature Strip, a hot and a cold.

When he failed to fire in the Oakleigh Plate, I could theorize that I was "right".

However fast forward 18 months and is Nature Strip now suspect fresh?

In the last 12 months, his two first up runs have been his worst, both over 1000m and both beaten at short odds.

On Saturday he lines up in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes and is the early $1.40 favourite.

Not seen since destroying them in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes, how could they beat him? He is the best we have, it's a foregone conclusion.

I remember thinking the same thing right before the Lightning Stakes.

Prior to that we saw him tanking up down the straight and running a Timeform rating of 128, how could they possibly beat him first up at WFA? But they did.

Chris Waller is a master trainer and no doubt this is in the back of his mind, but knowing what he went on to achieve last preparation, will Waller actually want to change anything?

He rounded out last campaign running a Timeform rating of 129, a figure which leaves him as clearly the horse to beat in the Everest.

All things being equal, if he is to run that figure on October 17th, it is going to take a freakish performance to beat him.

So why approach this preparation any differently?

Overall Waller strikes at 12% with runners first up/second up, before spiking to 15% third up.

His horses are proven to improve with racing, but are still often over-bet first up.

When looking at the last 12 months in Metropolitan company (Sydney), Waller has saddled up 322 runners first up.

28 have been successful (9%), against a market expectation of 47 (15%).

An odds on runner first up in Sydney has been a rarity for the Waller camp, saddling up just four, three of which won, Subpoenaed being the most recent (01/02/20).

No question Nature Strip is the best horse engaged, but if he is to be vulnerable, I'd suggest it is first up on Saturday.


Racing and Sports



Randwick

Saturday, 05th September 2020

4
14:00
(local)

Tab Concorde Stakes (G3)

Age: 3yo and up Type: OPEN
AUD $161,000
1000m TURF GOOD
4
14:00
(local)
AUD $161,000
1000m GOOD

Tab Concorde Stakes (G3)

Age: 3yo and up Type: OPEN
FP Silk Horse, Age & Sex
Sire & Dam
Jockey
Trainer
SP
WT
1st 2. GYTRASH (AUS) 5yo G
LOPE DE VEGA (IRE) - MISS BARLEY (AUS)
JASON COLLETT
GORDON RICHARDS
$5.00
60.0kg
C A Reynolds, R M Warnock, J M Baker, Mrs A J Charlton, Ms J Heaney, L J Clifford, Ms L Clifford, S B Charlton, R B Jones, W A Blythman, G Blythman, Ms V N Gordon, Dream To Win (J Heaney), Island Dreaming (J Heaney) & Pnu (G McIntosh)

Sales Information

2nd 1. NATURE STRIP (AUS) 6yo G
NICCONI (AUS) - STRIKELINE (AUS)
JAMES MCDONALD
CHRIS WALLER
$1.44
60.5kg
R Lyons, P Harrison, P Kean, S Hansen, G Smith, J Van Duuren, P Balderstone, K Garland, D McCluskey, C Bennett, G Dumesny, F Giampaolo, Ms D McShane, D Slocum & T McHenry

Sales Information

3rd 5. DIRTY WORK (AUS) 4yo H
WRITTEN TYCOON (AUS) - MAIDEL (AUS)
TOMMY BERRY
MICHAEL & WAYNE & JOHN HAWKES
$10.00
57.0kg
Spendthrift Australia (Mgrs: B W Hughes & G Cuddy)

Sales Information

4th 3. BALL OF MUSCLE (AUS) 10yo G
DUBAWI (IRE) - PARFORE (NZ)
GLYN SCHOFIELD
JOSEPH PRIDE
$21.00
59.5kg
5th 4. SPLINTEX (AUS) 4yo H
SNITZEL (AUS) - ACQUIRED (NZ)
ROBBIE DOLAN
MARK NEWNHAM
$15.00
59.0kg
6th 6. PRAIRIE FIRE (AUS) 5yo G
SNITZEL (AUS) - CONSISTENCY (AUS)
JOSH PARR
DANNY WILLIAMS
$101.00
56.0kg

Sales Information

Simon Dinopoulos

Senior Handicapper

Sydney-born Simon Dinopoulos joined Racing and Sports' as a form analyst in 2012.

Under the tutelage of Gary Crispe and Adam Blencowe, Simon has quickly established himself as a respected member of the R&S ratings team, with a key focus on NSW, Western Australia and Singapore.

As a journalist he contributes stories for the R&S website, while also priding himself on being a part of the data management sector. Simon has helped establish and maintain Racing And Sports’ global database – the most comprehensive privately owned racing database in the world.

Simon can be heard on Sky Sports Radio - Racings HQ (Friday/Saturday mornings) giving his selections for the weekend's racing.