The addition of ear muffs is expected to help brilliant sprinter Nature Strip run a strong 1200 metres in the Doomben 10,000.
Nature Strip is the clear-cut favourite to give trainer Chris Waller his second win in the Group One race on Saturday with Boban successful in 2015.
He has been heavily backed since acceptances, assuming favouritism from Osborne Bulls to be $1.90 on Friday with the TAB.
Waller is Nature Strip’s fifth trainer after the gelding was originally with Robert Smerdon, Robert Hickmott, John Sadler and Darren Weir in Victoria.
The gelding has always been noted for his brilliant speed but has had a question mark on his ability to see out a strong 1200m against top company.
Nature Strip has had two tries at 1200m finishing fourth in the Group Two Euclase Stakes in Adelaide and then winning the Listed Creswick Stakes at Flemington.
Waller has had Nature Strip for only one start, the Group One Galaxy which he won at Rosehill on March 23.
The champion trainer was in Queensland last week as his team stepped up its winter with a feature double at the Gold Coast.
He is growing in confidence Nature Strip can give him his 14th Group One winner in Queensland and his 18th in all states this season.
“We trialled him in ear muffs after the Galaxy and he won it easily although they went slowly and he didn’t settle all that well,” Waller said..
“They will stay on for the 10,000 and I think in a race it should help him settle.”
Waller believes Doomben, which is a noted track for speed horses, will suit Nature Strip.
He is also bolstered by the fact the Galaxy runner-up Pierata later won the Group One All Aged Stakes.
Waller hopes Nature Strip can follow Redzel and Santa Anna Lane by winning a Group One race in Queensland and continuing in elite company in the south.
He has not ruled out Nature Strip getting a slot in $14 million The Everest in September.
Rod Lyons, who heads the syndicate which races Nature Strip, also has a great record in the Brisbane winter having previously won the Doomben 10000 with Super Elegant and the Stradbroke Handicap with Under The Louvre.
Although Osborne Bulls has been displaced as the 10,000 favourite, Godolphin trainer James Cummings believes it is his most winnable Group One race after four consecutive seconds in elite company in the Lightning Stakes, Newmarket Handicap, TJ Smith Stakes and All Aged Stakes.
There is little doubt an Osborne Bulls Group One win would give the Godolphin team a special thrill.
Osborne Bulls is a Darley home-bred for Sheikh Mohammed being by Street Cry out of Lonhro mare Jerezana.
“He’s shown there’s still enough juice left in the orange to be tackling another Group One which on form looks to be the most winnable of the four he’s run in this campaign,” Cummings said.
“What hurts is that he’s beaten all the horses who have beaten him in other races.”
“In four prestigious Group Ones this campaign, he’s attacked the line but he’s just come up one placing short.”