Nature Strip survived staggering legs and a flying Pierata to land his first Group 1 in an enthralling Galaxy over 1100 metres at Rosehill on Saturday.
Punters backed the horse into $4.20 late in betting for the $700,000 feature and half way down the straight he looked set for a dominant victory but the effort clearly took its toll as Pierata dived and missed by the barest of margins.
The win was a triumph for a horse renowned as the quickest in the land and for his trainer Chris Waller, who trained his third Group 1 winner of the afternoon following memorable earlier victories from Winx (George Ryder Stakes) and The Autumn Sun (Rosehill Guineas).
On the line Nature Strip held Pierata ($10), with Easy Eddie ($16) a length-and-a-half away in third.
Nature Strip had failed to place in his previous Group 1 assignments – the Moir Stakes and the Oakleigh Plate – but he appeared to settle a little better than in Melbourne for jockey James McDonald and he turned for home full of running.
The horse, who has been with several trainers until moving most recently from Darren Weir to Waller’s yard, is now likely to be set the test of stretching his brilliance to the 1200m of the T.J. Smith Stakes at Randwick next month.
Redzel ($4.80) failed to threaten in The Galaxy, clearly struggling with his 59.5kg handicap into eighth place and continuing a long line of beaten topweights in the handicap sprint. – Racing.com