September Run winning the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington last year CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES

Nature Strip and September Run set for Rosehill workout before Lightning

24 January 2021

Chris Waller’s sprinting stars Nature Strip and September Run will sharpen up for a trip to Melbourne for the Lightning Stakes with another barrier trial at Rosehill on Wednesday.

The heart of Waller’s autumn team, including Verry Elleegant, Hungry Heart and Funstar, will be at the trials again, but expect Nature Strip and September Run to do a bit more than most before getting on the truck to Melbourne later in the week.

“They will have the trial at home on Wednesday and then head to Melbourne, where they will probably have a jump-out down the straight before the Lightning Stakes,” Waller said.

“They are both winners down the straight but they need to be really sharp for the group 1 first-up.”

Waller will have several of his two-year-olds in the Canonbury Stakes and Widden Stakes on Saturday. Giannis and Home Affairs will make their debuts in the Canonbury, where Brisbane winner Conexy will also run, while Divina faces the starter for the first time in the Widden.

“[I would] probably would prefer not to go to group races first-up, but Giannis and Divina got balloted on Saturday,” Waller said.

He will take the opportunity to start the campaigns of Kolding and Star Of The Seas in Saturday’s Expressway Stakes with an eye to next month’s Chipping Norton Stakes, Sydney’s first group 1 race of 2021.

“Kolding needs two prep runs to [get] ready for the Chipping Norton, so it works to start in this race,” Waller said. “Star Of The Seas is the same and with some rain coming later in the week he could come right into this race.


“He has been so close to winning a big one, so hopefully he can get that done this prep.”

More lead-ups needed for Millennium

Racing NSW needs to look at the two-year-old summer program after half-a-dozen babies missed a run on Saturday because they were balloted out of a race at Randwick.

Trainers want more opportunities for two-year-olds to qualify for the $2 million Inglis Millennium on February 5 and the lack of good options means they focus on Saturday races in the city. It actually opens up a chance to promote good races at the provincial level.


In the month leading into the feature, a couple of $50,000 races on Wednesdays and at provincial tracks split into colts and geldings’ and fillies’ divisions would be handy. They would ensure the winners and placegetters should get into Millennium.

While the fields might be small it would give different formlines, making the Millennium a stronger betting prospect and give a good base for horses starting Golden Slipper campaigns.

Australia Day meeting pushed back

The heatwave conditions forecast for the start of the week have seen the Australia Day Cup meeting at Warwick Farm pushed back further into Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting will now start at 3.15pm, pushing the majority of the races into the twilight period. It will be run under the level 2 heat policy.


“We wanted to keep the meeting at Warwick Farm and by pushing it back, going on the forecast, it should be a bit cooler,” ATC general manager of racing James Ross said.

Sargent’s star babies on show

John Sargent is getting a reputation as king of the two-year-olds this season and his two good ones, Four Moves Ahead and Readily Availabull, will look for group 3 wins in the Widden Stakes and Canonbury Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

Readily Availabull, winner of the Clockwise Classic on debut, missed the Magic Millions because of a stone bruise, but after an excellent piece of work on Saturday Sargent decided the Canonbury was the best option.


“He got to the Gold Coast with that problem. The stone bruise burst on the day before the race, but he couldn’t run. I was going to give [him] a bit of time, but the way he worked on Saturday he is ready to go,” Sargent said.

“It is a good chance for both of them to measure up and gives me some options heading towards the Golden Slipper.”

Sargent has a couple of runs planned for Four Moves Ahead before the Golden Slipper, where she is a $17 chance after her impressive debut win on January 2.

“She has definitely come forward from that run and it will be good to see her again, hopefully on firmer footing,” Sargent said. “She can stick to fillies races until the Slipper starting in the Widden and then I think the Reisling Stakes might be the right race for her before the Slipper.“

Four Moves Ahead’s half-sister Emeralds will start her campaign, targeting the Coolmore Classic, in Saturday’s Expressway Stakes with Jason Collett in the saddle.

Newnham, Dolan look to stay on top

Mark Newnham has made the summer staying features his own this season and import Skymax will look to add to the bounty in Tuesday’s Australia Day Cup at Warwick Farm.

Newnham will once again team up with Robbie Dolan after the pair won the Summer Cup and January Cup with another import, Spirit Ridge.

“It is a feature staying race over the summer with Robbie [Dolan] on and we have won a lot of them lately,” Newnham said.


“I’m looking forward to seeing Skymax out to the 2400m on a firm track again.”

Skymax won a benchmark 2400m race at Warwick Farm two runs back before being anchored by a big weight last time.

“He had 61 in that race the other day and he just couldn’t let down on the heavy track,” Newnham said. “He only has 53 on Tuesday.”


– Chris Roots, The Sydney Morning Herald