Black Caviar Lightning favourite Nature Strip will have one run before the Group 1 sprint down the Flemington straight and is likely to resume in the Listed $140,000 W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on February 2.
Trainer Darren Weir would like to see Nature Strip go to the races once before he tackles Group 1 company for a second time in the $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) on February 16.
“We’ve always planned to give him a run before the Lightning and get him second-up into that,” Weir told racing.com.
“Things are on track. I think the Lightning is a really good race for him. Hopefully he runs well enough first-up so he can progress onto that.’’
Nature Strip has shown tremendous sprinting ability in the past but after stringing together four wins during the Winter and the Spring last year, was a well beaten eighth as an odds on favourite behind Viddora in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at The Valley on September 28.
Nature Strip was subsequently withdrawn from his slot in the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick and sent for a break before being prepared for thee 2019 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
The speedy Nature Strip had a tendency to over-race in his races and Weir’s first priority was to teach the Nicconi four year old to settle in the early and middle part of his races.
Weir sent Nature Strip to trial at Camperdown on Monday to see the fruits of his work and was pleased to see the gelding drop his head when jockey John Allen was able to settle him in behind the leader.
“Everything has been focused on getting him to settle and, until this morning (Mojnday), everything was going great,” Weir said.
“Once (Crown Witness) wanted to race him a bit this morning and he got his head up and wanted to over-race a bit but Johnny (Allen) said when the other horse got in front of him he actually dropped it (head) and then he let him follow her for the rest of the trial because he was doing everything right.
“He’s a lovely laid-back horse. Obviously, when a horse comes up beside him, he’s got that competitive nature and wants to get things over and done a bit.
“I guess the positive we did take out of this morning was when the other horse got a little in front, he did drop his head and follow.
“As long as he drops his head and relaxes, we know we’re on track. He’s an exciting horse to look forward to. He’s in amazing condition, Very fit and well.”
Nature Strip was able to work his way up through the grades and claimed his eighth win from twelve starts with a narrow victory in the Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at The Valley the start before his Moir Stakes defeat.
Early betting for the Black Caviar Lightning at Ladbrokes.com.au has Nature Strip marked as the $3.20 favourite ahead of dual Everest winner Redzel at $5 and the promising Graf and the Chris Waller trained Zousain at $7.
Betting for the 2019 Black Caviar Lightning at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.20 Nature Strip, $5 Redzel, $7 Graff, Zousain, $9 Kementari, Written By, $13 In Her Time, Pierata, Santa Ana Lane, Trapeze Artist, $17 Lean Mean Machine, Osborne Bulls, Redkirk Warrior, Viddora, $21 Invincible Star, $26 Brave Smash, Voodoo Lad, $51 or better the rest.