Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir is chasing a second slot in the 2018 $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13 with his rising star Nature Strip.
The Weir trained Brave Smash has already secured a slot for the 2018 The Everest and will raced for Chris Waller Racing and Weir is hoping the Japanese import can better his last year’s effort when third behind Redzel and Vega Magic in the inaugural running of the World’s richest race on turf.
Weir has a high opinion of Nature Strip who has had one run for the master trainer for one win and he expects him to gain plenty of interest from the remaining slot holders who haven’t locked in a runner for the The Everest yet.
“He’s as good a horse as Brave Smash,’’ Weir told Racing New South Wales News.
“I can’t see why someone wouldn’t be looking at him but next week will answer a few questions running over 1200m.’’
Nature Strip is one of eighteen horses nominated for the Listed $120,000 A.R. Creswick Series Final (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Nature Strip was able to win three of his first four starts for Robert Smerdon before the three year old had to be transferred out of his stable after the Caulfield trainer was implicated in the Aquanita doping inquiry.
Robert Hickmott had Nature Strip for one run for a win in the $250,000 Inglis Dash (1100m) down the Flemington straight on January 20 and then the smart sprinter was transferred again and found a new home with Caulfield trainer John Saddler.
Nature Strip had two runs for Saddler for a second in the $150,000 Yulong VOBIS Gold Dash (1100m) at Caulfield on April 21 followed by a fourth in the Group 2 $500,000 Euclase Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 5.
Weir then became the Nicconi three year old’s fourth trainer prior to his latest win at Flemington and is hoping to keep his winning record intact when he lines up at headquarters again on Saturday.
Early betting for the 2018 The Everest at Ladbrokes.com.au has Nature Strip included as a $10 chance alongside of In Her Time, Santa Ana Lane and Shoals while last year’s winner Redzel and the brilliant Trapeze Artist share favouritism at $4.50.
Confirmed runners for the 2018 The Everest are Trapeze Artist (Aquis Farm, slot holder), In Her Time (TAB), Redzel (Yulong Investments), Brave Smash (Chris Waller Racing), Shoals (The Star Casino) and English (Damion Flower).
Early betting for the 2018 The Everest at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.50 Redzel, Trapeze Artist, $10 In Her Time, Nature Strip, Santa Ana Lane, Shoals, $16 English, Vega Magic, $18 Brave Smash, $26 Harry Angel, Kementari, Menari, Redkirk Warrior, Blue Point, $31 Equilateral, Happy Clapper, $34 Alizee, Chautauqua, Estijaab, Hot King Prawn, Le Romain, Viddora, Winx, $41 or better the rest.