Chris Waller ‘delighted’ with Nature Strip

Nature Strip might have been beaten in his Rosehill trial on Friday morning, but Chris Waller was ‘delighted’ with what he saw from the champion sprinter.

The two-time Australian Horse of the Year jumped well in the 900-metre workout, travelled strongly in third spot and was never urged along by James Mcdonald at any point.

He finished second, beaten around a neck by Queen Of The Ball, which was confirmation to Waller that the nine-year-old was enjoying his work.

“Delighted with the way Nature Strip has come back as are all the staff behind the scenes including vets, farriers, physios and strappers,” Waller said.

“His body language tells me he is a very happy horse in a great place.”

The son of Nicconi enjoyed his longest spell in two years when given a couple of months in the paddock after his fourth placing in the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes at Randwick on April 1.

Waller is keen to see how he progresses in his preparation before confirming a spring schedule for the nine-time Group 1 winner.

Nature Strip wasn’t the only Group 1 winner Waller had in the morning’s third trial with Espiona given a quiet time of things to finish fourth, beaten five lengths, just in advance of stablemates Militarize and New Mandate.

A trial earlier, Waller saw his Golden Slipper winner Shinzo indicate he was in for a good spring campaign at his second trial back.

After a soft hit-out at Canterbury on August 1, the son of Snitzel travelled boldly just off the speed before accelerating nicely through a tight gap late to score a narrow-but-impressive win over Zaaki.

Waller-trained import Going Global finished third, 1-1/4 lengths behind Shinzo, while Queensland Derby winner Kovalica and Group 2-winning American mare Princess Grace finished fourth and fifth.

Waller also had recent stable acquisition Montefilia finish second to Alligator Blood in the first trial and Sunlight’s brother, $3 million yearling Kandinsky Abstract, win one of the later trials.

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