Nature Strip was dominant in the TJ Smith earlier this year. Photo: Steve Hart.

Simple formula to guide Nature Strip up The Everest

1st July 2020

Trainer Chris Waller has stressed a ‘keep it simple’ approach will be taken with Nature Strip as his star sprinter takes his first steps towards the $15 million sprint this week.

The Group I-winning son of Nicconi has returned to work at Waller’s Rosehill base with his crosshairs trained on an October 19 date at Randwick.

Nature Strip was the first horse to be unveiled as a slot holder for The Everest after being announced as the TAB elect to run in the lucrative sprint.

It came as no real surprise given the sometimes enigmatic sprinter is the clear $3.50 favourite for this year’s race and was a dominant force throughout the Sydney Autumn Carnival.

Nature Strip claimed Sydney’s marquee autumn sprint, the TJ Smith Stakes, in commanding fashion at Randwick while he also finished fourth in last year’s The Everest.

The coronavirus pandemic ensured a trip over to Royal Ascot was ruled out in 2020 – allowing Waller’s focus to remain solely on The Everest this year.

Waller won the race last year with three-year-old gun Yes Yes Yes and remains confident Nature Strip is the horse to deliver his stable glory again.

“You don’t need to start early with The Everest horses and I think third-up I have seen him peak in his last couple of preparations,” Waller said.

“We will keep it simple and make sure he is ready to go in each of them but at the same time ready to win The Everest.

“We will keep an open mind but he will look at those same races (he ran in last year). We would still want to keep options open in Melbourne beforehand but I would say he would head down there afterwards.”

Nature Strip ran in the Group III Concorde Stakes first-up last year enroute to The Everest and it looks to be the likely starting point again on September 5.

Waller has welcomed back several of his main key contenders in the past few weeks with the likes of Kolding, Verry Elleegant and Funstar among them.

He told Racenet earlier in the week that Golden Eagle winner Kolding was among his contenders to join his stablemate with a string of three-year-olds.

Whichever horse fills Waller’s currently empty slot will undoubtedly be the stable’s second seed behind Nature Strip, who joined his stablemates back this week.

“He arrived back into the stables on Monday and looks fantastic,” Waller said.

“He had the luxury of being spoilt out at the Hermitage where they have a lovely straight uphill track that he has been pre-training on.

“When he came back, he was nice and fresh and looks great. We will take him along quietly over the next few weeks.”

– Mitch Cohen, racenet