Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, by Chris Roots
Chris Waller has broken with tradition and gone from last to first, locking in star sprinter Nature Strip to run in his slot for The Everest six months out from the $15 million race.
Nature Strip, who will be racing in the Everest for the third time after finishing fifth in 2019 in the James Harron Bloodstock slot and then seventh in the TAB slot last year, proved himself the best sprinter in the world by winning a second TJ Smith at Randwick earlier this month.
Waller has always been conservative about making a decision on his runner and has been the final slot filled for the past two years, including the 2019 Everest winner Yes Yes Yes.
But in a change to his thinking, Waller went early and selected Nature Strip for the Chris Waller Racing slot for 2021, driven by a desire to not let anyone else take the horse he has put three years of work into, and which is now at the top of his game.
“Following his scintillating victory in the TJ Smith last week I felt it was an opportune time to be putting a deal forward to secure him for 2021,” Waller said in a statement.
“He has shown me he has gone to another level this autumn with a victory in the Lightning Stakes, going down by a nostril in the Challenge in track record time and then blowing away his rivals last start at Randwick in the TJ Smith.”
Nature Strip’s managing part owner Rod Lyons said he was ecstatic that Waller had selected the six-year-old to race under his colours.
“We take an abundance of joy out of racing Nature Strip and being a part of Chris’ team, it was an apt decision to align with his slot in 2021,” Lyons said.
“Nature Strip has again showed us his capabilities as Australia’s best sprinter this autumn, and we eagerly await The Everest in October.”