Trainer Chris Waller is relying on the confidence levels on Nature Strip to help the speedster score back to back Group 1 wins in the 2019 $800,000 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Nature Strip has failed twice at Group 1 level as the short priced favourite before holding on to score a nose win over Pierata after setting the pace in the Group 1 $700,000 OOH!Media Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 23.
Waller said that the win in the Galaxy has given Nature Strip extra confidence and the champion trainer is banking on that to help him run out the 1200m in the Doomben 10,000.
“It was great to see him win last start because obviously a horse with his speed and having won a number of group races, you are trying to tick that Group I box,” Waller told Racenet.
“To beat a horse like Pierata ,with him then coming out and winning, certainly franks the form.
“Our confidence levels are up.
“You have heard me talk time and time again about horses and their confidence and I think this horse is in a similar mind space.”
Nature Strip has an abundance of natural speed but Waller has been trying to teach the four year old to settle which saw James McDonald trying to retrain him in a 1045m barrier trial at Randwick on April 26.
McDonald persevered for the first half of the trial but then let Nature Strip stride to the front and he went to the line unchallenged for a comfortable win.
Nature Strip has drawn out wide at gate eleven in the thirteen horse Doomben 10,000 field and McDonald might have no other choice but to let the speedster cross the field and take up the running.
“The beauty of Nature Strip is, with that early speed, that he can overcome draws,” Waller said.
“Whilst it is not what I was hoping … he still has enough speed to get himself out of trouble.
“If they go as quick as they do some years in this race we can take a sit and if not he can be up on the speed himself.
“He has had a trial since his last race and trialled well and then went up to the Gold Coast stable on Sunday.
“He has settled in well and has enjoyed the change of scenery, which is always good with any horse, especially a horse that has been up a while.”
Nature Strip has had plenty of solid support at the short odds and is the $2 favourite for the Doomben 10,000 at Ladbrokes.com.au while Osborne Bulls at $3.30 is the only other runner under the $10 mark.