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Where To Now For Nature Strip?

Few horses have polarised public opinion as much as Nature Strip, you either find yourself in #TeamSuperstar or #TeamSquib.

Where To Now For Nature Strip?

Few horses have polarised public opinion as much as Nature Strip, you either find yourself in #TeamSuperstar or #TeamSquib.

Nature Strip winning the Rubiton Stakes
Nature Strip winning the Rubiton Stakes Picture:Racing and Sports


No question it was a win for #TeamSuperstar on the weekend after Nature Strip spaced his rivals on debut for the Chris Waller stable.

In 13 starts he has notched up nine wins, five trainers and returned a new career peak, now rated 123 by Timeform .


With such an imposing record, it is not likely a question of 'if' Nature Strip will win a Group 1, but more so of 'when'.

The decision to run on Saturday ruled out a tilt at this Saturday's Group 1 Lightning Stakes [1000m], with the Oakleigh Plate now the expected path.

However is this the right decision?

A lot of the time in racing, we find ourselves jumping at shadows, making determinations out of what is more likely just noise.

Tom Melbourne never wins, until he finds himself in a very winnable race. How could you back ex-Darren Weir horses, until they win three of the nine races on C.F. Orr Stakes Day.

So while you don't want to read too much into what could be just coincidence/variance, there does appear a glaring pattern in Nature Strip's form profile - a pattern that hints at two versions of Nature Strip. A Jekyll and a Hyde. A hot and a cold.

The table below shows the form/ratings of Nature Strip when greater than three weeks between runs (the hot version we saw on Saturday) and then when less than three weeks between runs (the cold version that we saw fall out the back of the telly in last spring's Moir Stakes).

Hot Vs Cold
Hot Vs Cold

Nature Strip has still managed to win twice among those cold runs, however his ratings have declined, with his four best wins coming off 54 days, 49 days, 42 days and 134 days between runs.

His declines (cold runs) have been 8, 0, 6 and 17lbs - on average a near 8lbs drop. That hardly fills us with confidence going towards the Oakleigh Plate in just two weeks. 

Without question he is fast enough to win an Oakleigh Plate and is clearly the horse to beat on Saturday's effort, however it can be suggested that he is likely to come off that performance and not run up to his peak.

The Group 1 Newmarket [1200m] would leave Nature Strip with four weeks between runs, a more pattern pleasing target, better yet the Group 1 Galaxy [1100m] is a further two weeks away (42 days) - the perceived sweet spot.

While the Mexicans won't want to hear it, Nature Strip is now Sydney's own and a Group 1 handicap on his home track, over 1100m looks very very tempting.

 

Racing And Sports



149420
R4 CAULFIELD 9 February 2019
Rubiton Stakes , 1100m
Race Synopsis: Talented sprinter Nature Strip scored a most impressive firstup victory, in fast time. He was a bit slow to move but soon drove through from his inside barrier (1) to lead and then travelled at a quick tempo. He held a clear advantage on turning for home and was untroubled from that point to score by three and half-lengths, taking his record to nine wins from 13 starts. Jungle Edge showed his customary pace before settling behind the leader (Nature Strip) and he did well in fighting on to hold second. Thermal Current was last in the six-horse field at the home turn, before running on nicely along the rails to take third. Winterbottom Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Voodoo Lad was back in fifth and second last place at the home turn and made ground, without threatening, for (6 lengths) fourth, resuming here.

FP
 
Horse
Age & Sex
Trainer
Jockey
WT
SP
 
1st  
2. NATURE STRIP (AUS)
4yo Gelding
CHRIS WALLER
DAMIAN LANE
57.5
$1.73
 
NICCONI (AUS) - STRIKELINE (AUS)
R A E Lyons, P D Harrison, P N Kean, S W Hansen, G L Smith, J P Van Duuren, P J Balderstone, K C Garland, D McCluskey, C A Bennett, G D Dumesny, F Giampaolo, Ms D J McShane, T G McHenry & D J Slocum
2nd  
3. JUNGLE EDGE (AUS)
8yo Gelding
MICK BELL
DYLAN DUNN
56.0
$11.00
 
DUBAWI (IRE) - JUNGLE GIRL (NZ)
I D Dunkley, Mrs M D Strickland, G K Wilson, Mrs J I Wilson, Mrs B J Bell, P J Bow, Mrs J A Hayes, J A Hayes, J M Conroy, B A Conroy, P Orlandi, I Daire, M A Bell, M J Holt & Mrs Y I Knowles
3rd  
4. THERMAL CURRENT (AUS)
8yo Gelding
MATHEW ELLERTON & SIMON ZAHRA
DWAYNE DUNN
56.0
$26.00
 
EXCEED AND EXCEL (AUS) - SOARESSA (AUS)
 Contract Racing Pty Ltd (Mgr: Mrs J S Moodie), N S Psaltis, Mrs G C Psaltis, W J Peterson, T Jovanovski, Ms J Meagher, Mrs P A Donnelly, W S Pelchen & T N Porter
4th  1. VOODOO LAD (AUS)
7yo Gelding
C MAHER & D EUSTACE
DAMIEN OLIVER
58.5
$3.75
5th  5. ILLUSTRIOUS LAD (AUS)
7yo Gelding
PETER GELAGOTIS
ANTHONY DARMANIN
56.0
$11.00
6th  8. TAVISAN (NZ)
3yo Colt
MICK PRICE
MICHAEL DEE
53.0
$11.00

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