Nature Strip on Fire in TJ Smith Stakes
Mark Smith - Saturday April 4

A world-class field of sprinters lined up for Saturday’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick and the fleet-footed Nicconi gelding Nature Strip saw them all off in style.

Nature Strip - image Steve Hart

“Allowed to stride along by James McDonald, Nature Strip had them off the bit on the turn and he was untroubled to defeat Santa Ana Lane (Lope de Vega) by two lengths with Redzel (Snitzel) a head back in third.

A first in the race for McDonald and trainer Chris Waller, it was the fourth Group 1 for the strikingly handsome 5yo chestnut gelding whose form advances to 14 wins and 2 seconds from 23 starts with earnings of $5,144,035.

@The first furlong with him is key but he is getting better and better and it’s a joy to be associated with him,’’ McDonald said.

“Originally, I thought there would be someone there to pressure me a little bit. I could see them coming across.

‘’Nature Strip was waiting for me to click him up, he went through his gears really well. From about the 800m I felt like he was airborne from there and he was high steaming from the top of the straight.

“I knew he was going to be vulnerable late but it was just a matter of getting enough out of him towards the end. He is just going so well.”

Waller said he would be keen to stretch out the distances a it6 but does not see that happening any time soon.

"We'd be very tempted but do we need to? I'd say there'd be plenty of people chasing him in the Everest and that's a big race," Waller said.

"So, wow, what a great horse and we've got a lot to look forward to."

Passed in at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, where he was offered by Golden Grove Stud, Nature Strip is a half-brother to stakes-winner The Barrister from Group III winning Desert Sun (GB) mare Strikeline, a $500,000 earner who was a 6-time winner including the Group III Ian McEwen Trophy at Moonee Valley, which is the same race in which her son set the track record.

After missing to Savabeel in 2018, Strikeline was covered by Savabeel’s son Addictive Nature on a January 28, 2020 cover.


Nicconi in upcoming sales:
Tab T J Smith Stakes Gr1 1200m
Randwick Track: Heavy(8) Time: 1:11.18
Nature Strip
T: C J Waller J: J B Mc Donald 58.5
5g Nicconi (AUS) x Strikeline (AUS) (Desert Sun (GB))
Santa Ana Lane
T: Anthony Freedman J: Tim Clark 58.5
7g Lope De Vega (IRE) x Fast Fleet (AUS) (Fastnet Rock (AUS))
Inglis Premier Yearling Sale $80,000
V:Rosemont Stud, Gnarwarre
B: Flemington Bloodstock Agency
T: P & P Snowden J: K Mc Evoy 58.5
7g Snitzel (AUS) x Millrich (AUS) (Rubiton (AUS))
MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale $120,000
V:Marquee Stud, Willow Tree, NSW
B: Triple Crown Syndications
Inglis Australian Bloodstock Sale-Select Weanlings $45,000
V:PPB Advisory as Receivers and Managers of Lee Fleming Thoroughbreds
B: Marquee Stud Pty Ltd
MM National Weanling Sale Select Session $0
V:Eliza Park
B: Psd $55,000 Res $60,000
T: G D Hickman J: Tommy Berry 58.5
5h Pierro (AUS) x November Flight (AUS) (Flying Spur (AUS))
MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale $160,000
V:Kitchwin Hills Scone NSW
B: Greg Hickman
T: M D Moroney J: O P Bosson 56.5
4m Ocean Park (NZ) x Baggy Green (AUS) (Galileo (IRE))
T: James Cummings J: J Bowman 56.5
3c Exceed And Excel (AUS) x Dazzler (AUS) (More Than Ready (USA))
T: James Cummings J: J Parr 58.5
5g Street Cry (IRE) x Outdoor (AUS) (Redoute's Choice (AUS))
In Her Time
T: K A Lees J: B Avdulla 56.5
7m Time Thief (AUS) x Hell It's Hot (AUS) (Zeditave (AUS))
T: M, W & J Hawkes J: S Clipperton 56.5
3c Exceed And Excel (AUS) x Bonnie Mac (NZ) (Thorn Park (AUS))
Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale $180,000
V:Newgate Farm, Aberdeen
B: Vinery Stud (Australia) Pty Ltd
White Moss
T: J C Coyle J: Ms K O'Hara 56.5
6m Mossman (AUS) x Pay My Bail (NZ) (Justice Prevails (AUS))
Loving Gaby
T: C Maher & D Eustace J: G Boss 54.5
3f I Am Invincible (AUS) x Maastricht (NZ) (Mastercraftsman (IRE))
Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale $500,000
V:Kia Ora Stud, Scone
B: Phoenix Thoroughbred Ltd
T: A J Cummings J: A Hyeronimus 58.5
4g Lope De Vega (IRE) x Rainy Daze (AUS) (Commands (AUS))