Boom sprinter Nature Strip has won 8 of his 11 starts and is the chosen one for ATC. After much deliberation ATC zoomed in on the Nicconi colt after his record breaking Gr.2 McEwan Stakes’ win.
The 4YO chestnut gelding trained by leading conditioner Darren Weir, his fourth. However the changes have not affected the gelding, who remains in good order.
Nature Strip’s main owner Rod Lyons talks to Everest Diaries about their fantastic sprinter:
Q: Many Everest slot holders have been eying Nature Strip for the last few months. What suddenly changed for ATC to snap him up?
A: I think it was his last start where he broke the track record at Mooney Valley. The track is not an easy one and a horse has to be ridden ‘just so’ in order for him to navigate the course well. Nature Strip did it high cruising speed, breaking the record. We were already in advanced negotiations with the ATC and after this race, it was confirmed.
Q: What’s next for him in terms of milestones before the Everest?
A: His next start will be in the 1000m Moir Stakes on 28 September.
Q: Are there any contenders you are concerned about at this stage?
A: It’s a very good race. There are many Group One winners contesting in The Everest, including Redzel, Trapeze Artist and English etc. I believe barriers, the weather, the rails and track conditions on the day, and many more factors will affect how the race is run by each contestant. But I can certainly say, Nature Strip will run one hell of a race.
Q: How did you become the owner of Nature Strip?
A: He was originally bought by a group of people. At one stage I got a call from his trainer explaining that 85% of that group had pulled out. He asked whether my syndicate would be interested in buying the share. He had been broken in, trained and trailed by that stage. So we decided that he was a great horse and went ahead with the purchase. The rest as they say is history!
A: We are a group of friends who race individually as well as in a group. We enjoy travelling. If we had the opportunity to go somewhere, where people would want to see him race, we would definitely go. Even when it means going overseas with him. There are quite a few good races in Australia later in the year and next year. So we have plenty to choose from.
Q: What do you think about the instant popularity The Everest has gained?
A: When I saw the race last year, I started dreaming about having a sprinter good enough to race in The Everest. And this year, we are going to be there racing our horse. It’s a fantastic feeling. I think it’s becoming a “Sprinters’ Melbourne Cup’. They already have a record crowd and the hotels are all booked out.
Q: What kind of a personality does Nature Strip have?
A: Nature Strip is a very uncomplicated, big handsome chestnut. He does his work every day, walks 4 – 5 kilometers on the beach when he is supposed to and is generally very calm. He doesn’t sweat up. He is sometimes a little tardy at the start. But he picks up a high cruising speed very quickly, which takes him to the lead.