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New-look Nature Strip cruises in trial

Nature Strip continues to prove sprint racing's greatest puzzle after the one-time, one-dimensional speedster took a sit and cruised effortlessly in a hot trial at Rosehill on Tuesday morning.

Dual Everest champion Redzel had the blinkers on and he easily led the trial in a hectic dash over the 1000-metre course, allowing Nature Strip to settle into a fast stride a few lengths off him.

James McDonald refused to release the brakes in the run to the line, yet Nature Strip still ran up to finish a half-length astern of Redzel with nearly four lengths to Godolphin's impressive new import Beau Ideal.

Part-owner Rod Lyons said he was thrilled to see the hard work put into the sprinter was starting to pay off.

"It was terrific to see him go like that," Lyons said. "They have been working on that since they've had the horse. Darren (Weir) started when he had him and now Chris (Waller) has him and that's the best he's ever travelled.

"That's always been the aim to try and take that bit of steam out of him early and produce it later and that was brilliant late.

"If he (McDonald) had let him go, he would have gone 'kaboom'.

"I think they ran two seconds faster in this trial (58.10 seconds) than the one that Enticing Star won (1:01.00) and that's like 12 lengths.

"I think the more he does race, he'll be able to settle better off a slower speed. That's the aim but those signs were terrific and we just hope he keeps improving."

Nature Strip will soon get to test the new string to his bow in the September 7 Concorde Stakes over 1000m at Randwick, where he will meet many of the confirmed contenders for October's $14 million The Everest.

There are four slots left in The Everest, with the most likely suitor being James Harron if Nature Strip was to win the Concorde.

"We're all still up in the air a bit at the moment," Lyons said after Nature Strip's spring program. "We're going to the Concorde and that will be a terrific race.

"You'll have all the best sprinters bar Santa Ana Lane and a couple of others.

"It will be a great race for him to race the way he trials."
 
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