Nature Strip retired

An era has ended with Chris Waller announcing the retirement of champion sprinter Nature Strip.

The decision was made almost immediately after the nine-year-old finished down the track in the Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday with Waller convening a spontaneous press conference to confirm the news.

Standing alongside Nature Strip’s majority owner Rod Lyons, Waller paid tribute to a grand horse who at his best was almost unbeatable over sprint journeys winning three TJ Smith Stakes (2021-21-22), the 2021 The Everest and giving the top trainer his first Royal Ascot win in last year’s Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes.

“I’m announcing his retirement on behalf of the owners,” Waller said.

“He’s just been an amazing horse and everything he does he does to the best of his ability, even today, he was prepared well, he came to the race sound, he was trialling well.

“There has been no indication that race ability’s not there, but he wasn’t the same horse in the race today.

“Yes, he jumped well, he travelled nicely, he looked to come up the rise well, but that same acceleration or spark wasn’t there.”

Nature Strip retires as the winner of 22 of his 44 starts along with nine minor placings and more than $20.7 million in prizemoney.

For Lyons, the gelding has been life-changing and his over-riding emotion was one of gratitude, not only for Nature Strip’s achievements but for the fact the horse is going to the paddock happy and sound.

“It’s a sad day, we knew it would come. All champions come to the end of the road,” Lyons said.

“I wish he could have won today and gone on.

“But he’s been a wonderful horse and taken us to such magnificent heights.

“The important part is this horse retires healthy and sound.

“Today he said to us, ‘boys, I have taken you around the world, I have done all I can possibly do for you, c’mon give me a break.”

Lyons confirmed Nature Strip would spend his retirement at the property of Waller’s assistant trainer Charlie Duckworth and his wife, jockey Kathy O’Hara.

“He will have a great home and a great life, he will be a very happy horse,” Lyons said.

About RS NewsWire

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