Waller stars Nature Strip & Verry Elleegant among world’s finest

Chris Waller can lay claim to training the world’s best turf sprinter and top racing mare after star stablemates Nature Strip and Verry Elleegant were recognised among racing’s top echelon on Wednesday.

That’s according to the latest Longines World‘s Best Racehorse Rankings for 2021, which were released overnight.

An all-conquering year saw Waller’s champion sprinter Nature Strip ranked as Australia’s best horse for the first time in 2021.

The son of Nicconi equalled his 124 rating of 2020 to sit equal-10th on the esteemed list, topped by American Breeders Cup winner Knicks Go (129 rating).

It put Nature Strip on equal standing with the world’s best dirt sprinter, the John Sadler-trained Flightline.

Nature Strip won three races listed in the top 60 events run, including the world’s highest rated sprint, April’s Group One TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick, which was given a score of 120.50 to sit as a tie-18th among all races.

The Everest is not included in the rankings as it does not hold Group One status but several of the $15m feature’s top finishers were prominent on the list.

Placegetters Masked Crusader and Eduardo were given a rating of 121 to be 27th among the world’s elite performers while Lost And Running rated 116.

Champion mare Verry Elleegant scaled new heights in 2021 to burst into the top-20 for the first time in her grand career on the back of a campaign that included four Group One victories, headlined by the Melbourne Cup, which had a race rating of 117 to sit in a tie for 67th.

The 10-time Group One winner was named the best mare in the world by a clear three points with a 123 rating, sitting her 15th among all horses.

Three of her Group One wins ranked among Australia’s and the world’s best, with Sydney’s Ranvet Stakes (120.5) as well as the Chipping Norton Stakes (119.50) and George Main Stakes (119.25) all considered among the top 31 races.

Verry Elleegant was also a placegetter in Australia’s equal high-rating races with Randwick’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Cox Plate sharing top billing at 120.75 (equal 15th overall).

Australian races made up a quarter of the top-100 races in the world in 2021, with Victoria boasting the most with 13 while Sydney had 11 while the Doomben Cup was Brisbane’s lone race to feature.

Meanwhile, the incredible career ascension of Incentivise from maiden to Group One gun was highlighted by his high rating of 122 (equal 21st overall).

Other notables included Annabel Neasham’s stable star Zaaki (121), Cox Plate winner State Of Rest (120), Queen Elizabeth Stakes victor Addeybb (120) as well as equal 119-raters Anamoe and Mugatoo.

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