Nature Strip voted Australia’s best for 2019-20 season

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, By Damien Ractliffe, October 5, 2020

Enigmatic sprinter Nature Strip has been crowned Australian Racehorse of the Year as well as Champion Sprinter for 2019-20 following a stellar season.

Winx held the mantle as Australia’s best for four seasons, but with last season’s title up for grabs it was the TJ Smith Stakes winner who took the honours for the same trainer, Chris Waller.

“It is amazing to get a horse like this, he has gone from a horse that has been a genuine group 2 winner, and then in one season has won multiple group 1 races including the biggest sprint races on the racing calendar,” Waller said.

“It is a privilege to be part of his career and respect should also be given to my team for the work they have done with Nature Strip behind the scenes, making sure that he is well prepared and continues to peak throughout each preparation, resulting in some really big wins.

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“Obviously those who voted for him to be Australia’s horse of the year share our sentiments towards the horse and we are looking forward to the spring unfolding with some more exciting wins.”

Nature Strip had a season to remember, winning the Moir Stakes and Darley Sprint Classic during the spring in Melbourne, before claiming the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick in April. From just seven starts last season he won four races and nearly $4 million in prize money.

Golden Slipper winner Farnan took out the title as champion two-year-old horse last season, while Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare was crowned Australia’s champion stayer.

Everest winner Yes Yes Yes took out three-year-old colt of the season, while Loving Gaby was voted the champion three-year-old filly.

The champion middle distance horse could not be split, with Regal Power and Fierce Impact sharing the title.

Tallyho Twinkletoe took out Champion Jumper of the Year.

“As a three-time group 1 winner last season, Nature Strip showed time and time again why he is one of the country’s top sprinters, and is a thoroughly deserving winner of Australian Racehorse of the Year,” Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell said.

“The calibre of each award winner underlines how strong a position the industry is in presently, and although we have lost Loving Gaby and Yes Yes Yes to the breeding barn, the likes of Farnan, Vow And Declare, Fierce Impact and Nature Strip will ensure the standard of racing remains at its highest.

“I wish to congratulate all award winners and look forward to another brilliant season of Australian racing.”

Earlier on Monday, Bart Cummings winner Persan was penalised one kilogram for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups following his win on Saturday.

“Persan is an emerging young stayer, who has now been placed in all 10 starts for the Maher-Eustace stable,” Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter said.

“He accounted for a strong field in winning The Bart Cummings on Saturday in a performance that warrants him being lifted off the limit weight in both Cups.

“The one kilogram penalty is the same one given to Almandin when he completed The Bart Cummings – Melbourne Cup double in 2016 and to last year’s The Bart Cummings winner Surprise Baby, who went on to run fifth in the Melbourne Cup.”