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Nature Strip cracks record in slick McEwen

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

The weight of expectation doesn’t sit heavily on the powerful shoulders of Nature Strip (Nicconi). The much-touted speedster produced a blazing 1000 metre performance at Moonee Valley on Saturday in his bid to win a spot in The Everest.

The dashing 4-year-old set a hot pace in the G2 Mitty’s McEwen S., and he had enough in reserve to see off the late charge of Houtzen (I Am Invincible). While the winning margin was slender, Nature Strip clocked 56.95s to set a new course record.

“He’s the fastest horse I’ve ever trained and the time backs that up,” trainer Darren Weir said. “From our point of view, at that speed he went you could expect him to be found wanting late. That will bring him on and people question him at 1200 metres, but with another run in the Moir he’ll be right.”

“He’s the fastest horse I’ve ever trained and the time backs that up.” - Darren Weir .

Nature Strip is now unbeaten in four starts for Weir and, inevitably, the question of a slot in the Everest reared after the McEwen.

“That’s up to the owners. During the week they said they’ve had interest, but I’ve stayed out of that,” Weir said. “Hopefully, he’ll get a start but I’m more focussed on the Moir.”

Nature Strip held off Houtzen to win the Group 2 Mitty's McEwen Stakes

Nature Strip was ridden aggressively, and to instructions, by Mark Zahra to hold the lead from their inside gate. “Today was all about the barrier,” Weir said.

“We wouldn’t normally rev up a horse like that, but we wanted to make it simple and lead.” – Darren Weir.

“We wouldn’t normally rev up a horse like that, but we wanted to make it simple and lead. Look, all you can do is win and he’s done that. I’m happy.”

Shoals (Fastnet Rock), who has an Everest spot locked in, resumed in the McEwen and she gained a pass mark from rider Tim Clark with her third placing. She sat off the hot speed and made up ground in good fashion.

Pedigree Notes

A half-brother to the Listed Fernhill H., winner The Barrister (Star Witness), Nature Strip is out of Strikeline (Desert Sun {GB}) who numbered a victory in the G3 McEwen Trophy among her six wins.

She is a daughter of Strike High (Pre Emptive Strike {CAN}), who was also a black type winner and left the G3 Eclipse S., winner Bashful Girl (Perugino {USA}). Strikeline will be served by Savabeel (Zabeel {NZ}) this season.

Nature Strip was initially offered at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale with a reserve of $120,000, but was passed in at $90,000

Nature Strip was passed in for $90,000 as a yearling