Trainer Chris Waller described his speed machine Nature Strip as a ‘Happy Horse’ just a few days out from the 2020 Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
“He is a pretty happy horse and I would say he is in a good space,” Waller told racing.com after Nature Strip galloped down the Flemington straight this morning.
“His confidence is at an all-time high and obviously up the straight his record is impeccable.”
Nature Strip is undefeated from four starts down the Flemington straight and will be stepping out in the Black Caviar Lightning for the first time since winning the Group 1 $2m Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the 2019 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Waller said that Nature Strip has had an uninterrupted preparation that included two barrier trial wins at Warwick Farm and rounded it off with a gallop down the Flemington straight this morning.
“He had a working gallop, but not too hard, well within himself with James McDonald aboard,” Waller said.
“Trotting back to the 1200m mark, cantered off and just quickened up the tempo from the 800m and again at the 300m and then started to get to top gear.”
“To my eye it looked pretty good. I haven’t spoken to James yet but it took a while to pull him up and he was nice and relaxed when he did pull up and walked back without a care in the world.”
“I’m very happy. Wouldn’t change anything going into it (Black Caviar Lightning).”
Nature Strip is one of thirteen nominations for the Black Caviar Lightning and has been installed as the $1.60 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au with his nearest rival in betting being the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained Loving Gaby at $6.50.
Early betting for the 2020 Black Caviar Lightning at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.60 Nature Strip, $6.50 Loving Gaby, $7 Libertini, $8 Redzel, $12 Gytrash, $13 Tofane, $14 I Am Immortal, $26 Despatch, I Am Excited, $31 Miss Leonidas $41 Dirty Work, Gift Of Power, $151 Queen Annabel.
Nominations for the 2020 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m)
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||x2862x138x||REDZEL||G||7||Peter & Paul Snowden||1||58.5kg||116|
|2||1014x4141x||NATURE STRIP||G||5||Chris Waller||2||58.5kg||116|
|3||6422x1212x||LOVING GABY||F||3||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||3||53.5kg||111|
|4||1110x4509x||DESPATCH||G||5||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||4||58.5kg||106|
|5||368105x77x||I AM EXCITED||M||5||David Pfieffer||5||56.5kg||106|
|6||2132x721x0||MISS LEONIDAS||M||5||Shaun Dwyer||6||56.5kg||107|
|8||152x41011x||TOFANE (NZ)||M||4||Michael Moroney||8||56.5kg||103|
|9||117x7x2||I AM IMMORTAL||C||3||Anthony Freedman||9||55.5kg||89|
|11||577561360x||QUEEN ANNABEL||M||6||Rebecca Kelly||11||56.5kg||82|
|12||06142x257x||GIFT OF POWER (NZ)||M||5||Anthony Freedman||12||56.5kg||96|
|13||36x32441x||DIRTY WORK||C||3||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||13||55.5kg||70|