Last year part-owner Rod Lyons was delighted to have his sprinter Nature Strip join the elite Everest runners' field representing. Lyons had wanted to have a runner in the race since he watched the inaugural race in 2017 and his dream came true when ATC chose Nature Strip to represent them in The Everest (2018).
Once again, Lyons is eager to have his horse get into the race to prove his metal against some of the best sprinters in the world including Redzel, who will be attempting a three-peat.
Everest Diaries speaks to Rod Lyons about his ambitions and plans for Nature Strip:
Q: Nature Strip has greatly matured this year, what changes do you see which will make him a better choice for The Everest this year?
A: He has come back bigger and stronger, and is settling beautifully in his track work and trials.
Q: How do you see Nature Strip as a better horse when compared to the other Everest contenders?
A: Physically (as already stated) bigger and stronger. Pedigree-wise, he is bred to sprint. While his performance speaks for itself and he was very unlucky to not have won his last start in the Doomben 10,000 when he missed the start and got caught 3 wide.
Q: What is your game plan to get your foot into the Everest door?
A: Chris Waller has mapped out a plan to run in the Concorde Stakes and the Premiere Stakes, hopefully, wins in these will open the Everest door.
Q: And what are your plans for the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020?
A: Again this is in the hands of the trainer, Chris Waller, but a Melbourne spring campaign is planned.
Q: What’s on your bucket list of races for Nature Strip to win?
A: We would be very happy for him to win all his races. We would also be very happy to travel overseas with him if we were to be invited.
Q: What kind of horse is he? And how would you describe him at the track?
A: He has the magnificent temperament, very laid back and is a magnificent specimen of a thoroughbred.
Q: What according to you was his best performance thus far and why?
A: His Group One victory in the Galaxy where he made all the running on a very very heavy track and fought courageously to win.
Q: Which sales do you frequent when you are buying a horse at the sales? Do you have a mentor helping you through your choices?
A: I usually visit both the Inglis and Magic Millions sales' in Melbourne, Sydney. We have a close relation with Mr. Peter Brown who is a breeder and points us in the right direction along with our trainer.
Q: Which is your favourite horse of all time?
A: Dual group 1 winner “Super Elegant” who won 19 races in total and over A$2 million in prize money. I raced this horse with one of my dearest friends David Trevethan, which made every win more special as we have known each other for over 55 years.