Nature Strip's hot-and-cold relationship with $13 million race The Everest is again lukewarm after a potential deal to clinch the four-year-old a slot fell through last weekend.
Part-owner Rod Lyons said the final three slot-holders still hold interest in Nature Strip but that he felt no deal would occur before the horse races again in the September 8 Group 2 McEwen Stakes at The Valley.
Nature Strip was into as short as $8 for October's The Everest following his Lightning Stakes blitz of Sunlight in Adelaide late last month and Lyons said he felt the Quezette Stakes win of that filly last Saturday would provoke more interest.
"No one's jumping out the trees," Lyons said on Monday. "I thought we might get a bit (of renewed interest) after Saturday with Sunlight, but no one's phoned and said 'Yep, we want your horse'.
"But if he doesn't get a slot, no one is losing a great deal of sleep over it. There are lots of races out there for a horse of his ability."
Lyons said he was confident Nature Strip would be signed up after an approach by a slot-holder last week.
"We are still in the picture - he hasn't picked another horse - and the other two (slot-holders) are saying that you are in the top two of our picks but we want to see him race one more time," he said.
That time comes on September 8 when the emerging star tackles the $200,000 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at The Valley on his way to the $500,000 G1 Moir Stakes over the same course three weeks later.
Lyons said the dealings had left him and his co-owners a little frustrated.
"For me, we've got the horse, they've got the slot," he said. "Seems pretty easy to me. You go in and split it and away you go. But it's not that simple."
Nature Strip, picture Quentinjlang.com